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The Big Answer

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Sourcebook of Social Support & Personality

a book by Gregory R. Pierce, Brian Lakey, and I.G. Sarason

(our site's book review)

The book, which is the work of 47 contributors from the U.S., Canada, and Israel, seriously reappraises social support research in the context of findings from other fields of psychology and related disciplines. And key contributions highlight the great strides made in understanding the links among personal dispositions, situational contexts, and potentially supportive transactions.

Some conclusions: A willingness to rely on others is a positive contributor to mental health and well being. One is most willing to rely on those who are sensitive to ones needs, and especially those that support one’s autonomy. Early caregivers who have been controlling rather than supportive of one’s autonomy may lessen one's desire to depend on others later in life. Those who are most "independent" and who try to rely on no one tend to be more detached, less adjusted, and less autonomous.

“Proactive interaction” is the term for taking an active role in choosing as well as constructing their support networks, in this book. People who construct an intentional support network like a babysitting co-op are thereby both proactive and likely to end up with more autonomy in evidence around and within themselves. The same is true for people who start or join MCs (microcommunities). See Why Register for an MC?.

Registering for MC search and match
Registering for MC search and match

This book has some positive contributions to make in understanding the links that exist between personal dispositions, situational contexts, and potentially supportive transactions. This holistic approach mostly just adds to social support research by adding context, but also adds a bit of content.