Social support as a moderator between stress and psychological well–being
The aim of the study was to investigate whether social support moderates the relationship between stress and psychological well–being. The inverse relationship between the experience of stress and psychological well–being is supported on the one hand (Chang, 1998; Skok, Harvey, & Reddihough, 2006), while social support’s reducing effect on psychological distress has also been reported (Cohen & McKay, 1984; Sherbourne & Stewart, 1991). It is possible that social support may interact with the influence of stress on well–being in such a way as to moderate the relationship. Social support was conceptualised in terms of Pretorius’ (1998) model, which describes social support as a resource of fortitude, and originates from various sources, namely, positive appraisal of self, support from family, and support from friends and others. Although social support is considered to be a well–researched phenomenon, an empirical study exploring its effect on the influence of stress on well–being in an African context is yet to be conducted. A sample of 459 participants completed the Setswana versions of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ; Goldberg & Hillier, 1979) to measure the experience of stress, the Affectometer 2 (AFM; Kammann & Flett, 1983) to measure the affective component of well-being, the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS; Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985) to measure the cognitive component of well–being, and the Fortitude Questionnaire (FORQ; Pretorius, 1998) to measure social support. Data were collected in a quantitative, cross-sectional survey, with random sample selection. After data exploration by using descriptive statistics and inter–scale correlations, step-wise multiple regression analyses were conducted to investigate the relationships and to explore moderation effect of social support. Results showed inverse relationships between the experience of stress, as operationalised by the GHQ sub-scales, and psychological well–being, operationalised by positive and negative affect (AFM–PA and AFM–NA) and satisfaction with life (SWL). Receiving social support from various sources, namely positive appraisal of self, support from family, and support from friends and others, was found to moderate relationships between the experience of stress and the affective components of psychological well–being. Social support from family moderated most effectively of the three sources of support. It was found that social support, particularly familial support, had a protective effect on the maintenance of psychological well–being when experiencing psychological distress. It is thus a possible protective factor to be developed and encouraged in psychological interventions with individuals from this population in particular.
- Humanities