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      New Look at Social Support: A Theoretical Perspective on Thriving through Relationships

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          Abstract

          Close and caring relationships are undeniably linked to health and well-being at all stages in the lifespan. Yet the specific pathways through which close relationships promote optimal well-being are not well understood. In this article, we present a model of thriving through relationships to provide a theoretical foundation for identifying the specific interpersonal processes that underlie the effects of close relationships on thriving. This model highlights two life contexts through which people may potentially thrive (coping successfully with life’s adversities and actively pursuing life opportunities for growth and development), it proposes two relational support functions that are fundamental to the experience of thriving in each life context, and it identifies mediators through which relational support is likely to have long-term effects on thriving. This perspective highlights the need for researchers to take a new look at social support by conceptualizing it as an interpersonal process with a focus on thriving.

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          Most cited references240

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          Distinguishing optimism from neuroticism (and trait anxiety, self-mastery, and self-esteem): a reevaluation of the Life Orientation Test.

          Research on dispositional optimism as assessed by the Life Orientation Test (Scheier & Carver, 1985) has been challenged on the grounds that effects attributed to optimism are indistinguishable from those of unmeasured third variables, most notably, neuroticism. Data from 4,309 subjects show that associations between optimism and both depression and aspects of coping remain significant even when the effects of neuroticism, as well as the effects of trait anxiety, self-mastery, and self-esteem, are statistically controlled. Thus, the Life Orientation Test does appear to possess adequate predictive and discriminant validity. Examination of the scale on somewhat different grounds, however, does suggest that future applications can benefit from its revision. Thus, we also describe a minor modification to the Life Orientation Test, along with data bearing on the revised scale's psychometric properties.
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            New Well-being Measures: Short Scales to Assess Flourishing and Positive and Negative Feelings

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              Mental Illness and/or Mental Health? Investigating Axioms of the Complete State Model of Health.

              A continuous assessment and a categorical diagnosis of the presence (i.e., flourishing) and the absence (i.e., languishing) of mental health were proposed and applied to the Midlife in the United States study data, a nationally representative sample of adults between the ages of 25 and 74 years (N = 3,032). Confirmatory factor analyses supported the hypothesis that measures of mental health (i.e., emotional, psychological, and social well-being) and mental illness (i.e., major depressive episode, generalized anxiety, panic disorder, and alcohol dependence) constitute separate correlated unipolar dimensions. The categorical diagnosis yielded an estimate of 18.0% flourishing and, when cross-tabulated with the mental disorders, an estimate of 16.6% with complete mental health. Completely mentally healthy adults reported the fewest health limitations of activities of daily living, the fewest missed days of work, the fewest half-day work cutbacks, and the healthiest psychosocial functioning (low helplessness, clear life goals, high resilience, and high intimacy). (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                9703164
                30195
                Pers Soc Psychol Rev
                Pers Soc Psychol Rev
                Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc
                1088-8683
                1532-7957
                17 April 2017
                14 August 2014
                May 2015
                22 June 2017
                : 19
                : 2
                : 113-147
                Affiliations
                Carnegie Mellon University
                University of California, Santa Barbara
                Article
                PMC5480897 PMC5480897 5480897 nihpa863739
                10.1177/1088868314544222
                5480897
                25125368
                2191a123-0ff9-4c0e-b5c4-7d7a8ed4407d
                History
                Categories
                Article

                SECURE BASE,SOURCE OF STRENGTH,SAFE HAVEN,GROWTH,THRIVING,SOCIAL SUPPORT,RELATIONSHIPS,RELATIONAL CATALYST

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