Relational Self-Concept as a Moderator between Perceived Social Support and Outcome Variables

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Pamela Bacon, Psychology


The current study evaluated the impact of the self-concept on the relationship between social support and multiple outcome variables. In previous research, social support has been shown to be consistently related to distress, but in an inconsistent direction. To test the impact of the self-concept as a moderating variable clarifying this relationship, 206 participants from a liberal arts college and 79 participants from a technical college completed a survey assessing their relational self-concept, perceived social support, and outcome variables including distress, self-esteem, and satisfaction with life. The relational self-concept was found to be a moderating variable in the relationship between social support and distress, and again between social support and life satisfaction. Individuals with a highly relational self-concept were greatly impacted by social support levels whereas, support was nearly neutral for low relationals. These findings help to explain past contradictory findings and have implications for the therapy setting.