University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Project Description

Stress Reported as a Function of the Strength of Social Networks: Do We All Need Someone to Bleed On?

Project Abstract

If the opportunity for confidant relationships within core social networks is positively related to a buffering effect against psychological and physiological stressors (Rivkin & Taylor, 1999); if the particulars of social environments, and core networks, specifically, have a profound effect upon psychophysiological responses (Kiritz & Moos, 1974); and if affective narratization shared with a consistently available and responsive confidant has a positive correlation with positive health outcomes in general, and stress management (Wellman & Wortley, 1990; King, 2001) in particular, it seems to bode ill for us that McPherson, Smith-Lovin, and Brashears (2005) report a modal respondent to the 2005 GSS with no confidants.

We hypothesize that respondents coming to their majority in 1985, and thus now represented by those respondents forty years of age and above, will report lower levels of perceived stress and higher levels of positive adjustment due to the maintenance of confidant network structures (e.g., 3 confidants as modal, with 3, also, as mean) similar to those reported in 1985, while those coming to their majority in 2008, represented by those approximately 20 years of age, will report higher perceived levels of stress and lower levels of positive adjustment due to their smaller confidant network (0 modal, and 2 mean).

Further, it is hypothesized that the older cohort will score lower on a narcissism scale and higher on a self-esteem scale and higher on a dispositional resilience scale than the younger cohort due to the buffering effect of confidant networks on narcissism and poor self-image.

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