Abstract and Keywords
Research on social support and happiness is reviewed. Research consistently finds that people who perceive their family and friends as supportive report greater happiness than those who doubt their social network’s supportiveness. The link between perceived support and happiness reflects both the trait-like personality of support recipients, as well as social interaction. Within social interaction, the effects of objectively supportive providers appear to be surprisingly small. Instead, relational influences appear to be the single largest determinant. Relational influences occur when a recipient sees a provider as more supportive than one would expect given: (1) the recipient’s tendency to see providers as supportive and (2) the provider’s objective supportiveness. Theoretical approaches for understanding these findings are reviewed.
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