Receiving Support as a Mixed Blessing: Evidence for Dual Effects of Support on Psychological Outcomes

Marci E J Gleason, Masumi Iida, Patrick E. Shrout, Niall Bolger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although social support is thought to boost feelings of closeness in dyadic relationships, recent findings have suggested that support receipt can increase distress in recipients. The authors investigated these apparently contrary findings in a large daily diary study of couples over 31 days leading up to a major stressor. Results confirm that daily support receipt was associated with greater feelings of closeness and greater negative mood. These average effects, however, masked substantial heterogeneity. In particular, those recipients showing greater benefits on closeness tended to show lesser cost on negative mood, and vice versa. Self-esteem was examined as a possible moderator of support effects, but its role was evident in only a subset of recipients. These results imply that models of dyadic support processes must accord a central role to between-individual heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)824-838
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008


  • close relationships
  • daily diaries
  • multilevel models
  • reciprocity
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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