HSR&D Citation Abstract
Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title
Main and interactive effects of social support in predicting mental health symptoms in men and women following military stressor exposure.
Smith BN, Vaughn RA, Vogt D, King DW, King LA, Shipherd JC. Main and interactive effects of social support in predicting mental health symptoms in men and women following military stressor exposure. Anxiety, stress, and coping. 2013 May 30; 26(1):52-69.
Evidence across a multitude of contexts indicates that social support is associated with reduced risk for mental health symptoms. More information is needed on the effectiveness of different sources of support, as well as sex differences in support. Associations between social support from two sources - the military unit and friends and family - and mental health symptoms were examined in a study of 1571 Marine recruits assessed at the beginning and end of a highly stressful 13-week training program. Military social support buffered the stressor exposure-posttraumatic stress symptomatology (PTSS) relationship, whereas the relationship between stressor exposure and PTSS was highest when civilian social support was high. Further inspection of the interactions revealed that military support was most important at high levels of stressor exposure. Sex differences in the relationship between social support and symptoms were found, such that support from military peers was associated with lower levels of PTSS for men, whereas civilian support was associated with lower PTSS for women. While civilian social support was associated with lower levels of depression symptom severity in both women and men, the relationship was stronger for women. Reviewed implications focus on the importance of considering the recipient, source, and context of social support.