Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Mediating Effect of Social Support on the Relationship between Self-Evaluation and Depression

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Mediating Effect of Social Support on the Relationship between Self-Evaluation and Depression

Article excerpt

Depression is a state of low mood that can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, and sense of well-being. It is one of the most common chronic disorders (Beck & Alford, 2009). Not surprisingly, a large amount of research has been conducted in an attempt to relieve symptoms of depression (Fournier et al., 2010; Pescosolido et al., 2010). Findings from qualitative and quantitative studies in the emerging literature are not unanimous but often suggest two approaches. The first approach is an internal approach, which has concentrated on the role of the endogenous variable of self-evaluation in depression (Orth, Robins, Widaman, & Conger, 2013). The cognitive behavioral model holds that negative cognitions related to the self have etiological importance for the maintenance and relapse of depression (De Raedt, Schacht, Franck, & De Houwer, 2006). The second approach is that of external processes and concentrates on how the exogenous variables, such as social support, interact with depression (Berkman et al., 2003). Social support is the perception and actuality that one is cared for. Social support appears to buffer the impact of depression, which may protect individuals from the negative prognostic consequences of depression (Frasure-Smith et al., 2000).

The relationship between self-evaluation, social support, and depression has been well established, but the potential mechanisms that might explain this relationship are still unclear (Brown, Andrews, Harris, Adler, & Bridge, 1986). Most prior researchers have examined independently the relationship between self-evaluation and depression, or the relationship between social support and depression. On one hand, few researchers have tried to integrate and test variables that represent both explanations (Carrillo, Rojo, & Staats, 1996). The limitations of including only one independent variable in predicting depression are apparent. On the other hand, researchers have also found some empirical support for the impact of self-evaluation on depression being dependent on other external characteristics (Orth et al., 2013). We posited that the relationship between self-evaluation and depression is complex. It seems reasonable that lack of social support could be a significant cause of depression because having assistance available from other people should make individuals think well of themselves and make them happier (De Jong, Sportel, De Hullu, & Nauta, 2012). Thus, considering the robust relationship between social support and depression and the important role of self-evaluation in depression, it is reasonable to assume that social support mediates the relationship between self-evaluation and depression. In this study we considered the mechanisms through which self-evaluation could influence depression, and examined whether or not its influence on depression is mediated by social support. Few previous researchers have tested this possibility empirically.

We hypothesized that social support might act as a mediator of the impact of self-evaluation on depression. Accordingly, our aim in this study was to generate evidence for each of the criteria used to define the mediators proposed by Baron and Kenny (1986), which have long been used in behavioral research. Baron and Kenny proposed a series of three regressions showing: (a) X (independent variable) affects M (mediator); (b) X affects Y (dependent variable); and (c) when X and M are included in the same regression, there is a significant partial effect of M and the partial (direct) effect of X on Y is less than the effect of X on Y without controlling for M. In the literature review it is suggested that the social support variable is perceived social support. Perceived social support is the subjective appraisal of social support, which is differentiated from the support actually received (Lakey & Orehek, 2011). Self-evaluation was represented by core self-evaluation. Core self-evaluation is how an individual views him or herself, and also influences how people perceive and assess situations. …

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