The costs and benefits of practical and emotional support on adjustment: A daily diary study of couples experiencing acute stress

Patrick E. Shrout, Criag M. Herman, Niall Bolger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Emotional support from intimate partners has been shown to have both costs and benefits for daily anxious and depressed moods (N. Bolger, A. Zuckerman, & R. C. Kessler, 2000). We examine whether similar costs and benefits are found for practical support, and when fatigue, vigor, and anger are outcomes. Results are based on daily diary reports from 68 recent law school graduates and their intimate partners during the month before the New York State bar examination. Partners' reports of practical support provision to the examinee were beneficial in that they were associated with decreased examinee fatigue and increased examinee vigor. In contrast, examinees' recognition of emotional support receipt was costly in that it was associated with increases in anger, as well as anxious and depressed mood. Results highlight the distinction between emotional and practical support and are consistent with findings that suggest that invisible (provided but not recognized) support leads to the best outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-134
Number of pages20
JournalPersonal Relationships
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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