Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

First Advisor

E. Scott Huebner

Abstract

Trends in current psychological research suggest an increasing interest in indicators of well-being in youth, such as life satisfaction (LS). Studies indicate a strong association between LS and social support from different sources within an early adolescent’s social network. However, the unique contributions of specific types of supportive behaviors (within sources of social support) as they relate to development of early adolescent global LS have been largely overlooked. The current study sought to examine the unique contributions of social support types (emotional, appraisal, informational, instrumental) within three sources of support (parent, teacher, peer) to global LS in a sample of 1732 middle school students from four schools in a southeastern U.S. state. This study also investigated gender as a potential moderator between social support (sources and types within sources) and global LS. After controlling for age and socioeconomic status, multiple regression analyses demonstrated unique differences between social support types within sources for each social support source, apart from appraisal support, which was not found to be statistically significant within any source of support. Notably, no statistically significant interaction was demonstrated between gender and social support source or between gender and social support types within each source of social support. Such findings may positively inform social support interventions aimed at improving youth outcomes.

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