Effective social support: Antecedents and consequences of partner support during pregnancy

Christine Marie Rini*, Christine Dunkel Schetter, Calvin J. Hobel, Laura M. Glynn, Curt A. Sandman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


This longitudinal study investigated a new conceptualization of the effectiveness of social support attempts called social support effectiveness (SSE) that takes into account the quantity and quality of support attempts and the extent to which they meet the needs of recipients. SSE was assessed in a sample of 176 pregnant women with regard to their partners' social support behaviors. Potential antecedents of SSE were investigated, including individual and relationship variables. In addition, it was hypothesized that women who appraised their partner's support as more effective would have lower prenatal anxiety, both concurrently (in mid-pregnancy) and prospectively (in late pregnancy). Factor analyses confirmed that all hypothesized aspects of SSE contributed to a unitary factor of SSE. Structural equation modeling was used to test the proposed antecedents and consequences of SSE. Results revealed that women's ratings of the effectiveness of partner support were predicted by their interpersonal orientation (adult attachment, network orientation, kin individualism-collectivism, and social skills) and by characteristics of their relationships with their partners (relationship quality, emotional closeness and intimacy, and equity). Furthermore, women who perceived themselves to have more effective partner support reported less anxiety in mid-pregnancy and showed a reduction in anxiety from mid- to late pregnancy. Findings are discussed with regard to implications for advancing research on social support processes, especially within relationship contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-229
Number of pages23
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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