Social Support, Depressed Mood, and Adjustment to Stress: A Genetic Epidemiologic Investigation

Ronald C. Kessler, Kenneth S. Kendler, Andrew Heath, Michael C. Neale, Lindon J. Eaves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

139 Scopus citations

Abstract

A survey of 821 same-sex female twin pairs from a population-based registry assessed 8 dimensions of social support and social integration. Twin analyses documented significant common environmental influences on 5 of these 8 measures and significant genetic influences on 5 of the 8. A decomposition of the multiplicative association between support and a measure of stressful life experiences in predicting depressed mood-an association typically interpreted as providing evidence for a stress-buffering effect of social support-shows clearly that it is the environmental and genetic factors that cause support, rather than support itself, that buffer the effects of stress on mood in most cases. We discuss the implications of this result for future research on the relationship between social support and psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-272
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume62
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1992

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