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Unformatted text preview: Kafetsios, K. (2007). Gender, social support, and well-being: Evidence from a Greek community sample. Interpersona 1(2), 93-109. Gender, social support, and well-being: Evidence from a Greek community sample Konstantinos Kafetsios, PhD. 1 University of Crete Abstract The importance of social support for psychological well-being has been aptly highlighted in epidemiological and psychological research. However, it is not clear from the existing research whether gender differences in structural (relationship status, network size, frequency of interactions with friends) and functional (support satisfaction) aspects of social support exist and -if they do- to what extent they affect males’ and females’ well-being. Hierarchical regression analyses of crossectional data from a Greek community sample showed that support satisfaction was an important predictor of well-being outcomes in males whereas several structural indicators were predictors of different well-being outcomes in females. Females’ anxiety, perceived stress, and loneliness were adversely affected by frequency of interaction with acquaintances. The results are discussed with regard to gender- role differences that may be underlying the social support effects on well-being, as well as related cultural values. Keywords: Gender, social support, well-being, Greece . In the last two decades, multidisciplinary research programs in the social sciences have established the key role of social support for well-being (see Sarason, Sarason, & Gurung, 2001, for a review). Social support refers to perceptions or experiences of care, value and assistance from others of one’s social network (Cutrona, 1996; Wills, 1991). A sizeable body of evidence has shown consistent links between inadequate levels of social support and poor physical and mental health (Sarason et al., 2001; Williams, Ware, & Donald, 1981). The magnitude of the evidence has been such that in a key article House, Landis, and Umberson (1988) proposed that social support is a fundamental construct and “insufficient social support” is a risk factor for health. Despite the strong research interest, it has been less clear whether different facets of social support are affecting men’s and women’s well-being equally. Epidemiological and psychological studies have shown men’s health to profit from the existence of marital relationships (e.g., Cutrona, 1996; House, Robins, & Metzner, 1982). More recent epidemiological research on social support and mental health has demonstrated stronger positive associations between social support and well-being for men than for women (e.g., 1 Dr. Konstantinos Kafetsios. Department of Psychology – University of Crete. Gallos Campus, Rethymnon – GR 74100, Greece. Email: email@example.com. Tel: +302831077534 / fax: +302831077534 94 Interpersona 1 (2) – December 2007 Stansfeld, Fuhrer, & Shipley, 1998). However, there are studies showing equivocal effects of social support on men’s and women’s mental health (Paykel, 1994; Williams et al., 1981) and social support on men’s and women’s mental health (Paykel, 1994; Williams et al....
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