The relationship of support and nonsupport to well-being and distress in the context of personal strivings

Walanda Walker Smith, Fordham University


This study examined the importance of social support and nonsupport in the context of personal strivings, particularly as they relate to psychological well-being and distress. Eighty undergraduates, 48 females and 32 males, completed a questionnaire packet containing a measure of support and nonsupport; a personal strivings assessment scale; other measures of perceived and received support; and an assessment of well-being and distress. It was hypothesized that significant relationships would be found among striving support and nonsupport, dimensions of personal strivings (value, ambivalence and importance), and psychological well-being and distress. The Support and Nonsupport Scale was constructed to simultaneously investigate both negative and positive support experiences. It was found to have good internal consistency, with the Support subscale having item-total correlations ranging from.65 to.87, and an alpha of.95. The Nonsupport subscale had item-total correlations ranging from.57 to.74, With an alpha of.91. Results indicated that striving nonsupport was related to distress (r(78) =.31, p $<$.01). Striving support was related to psychological well-being (r(78) =.33, p $<$.01). Value and striving support were related (r(78) =.43, p $<$.001). Ambivalence and nonsupport were related (r(78) =.29, p $<$.01). Importance and support were also related (r(78) =.51, p $<$.001). Perceived social support from family mediated the relationships between support and well-being, and between nonsupport and distress. Support mediated the relationship between value and well-being. The best predictors of well-being were perceived social support from family and friends. Best predictors of distress were striving ambivalence, perceived social support from family and received support. This study confirmed that support and nonsupport are distinct constructs that contribute differently to well-being and distress.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Smith, Walanda Walker, "The relationship of support and nonsupport to well-being and distress in the context of personal strivings" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9628353.