Social support is associated with mental well-being and favorable therapy outcomes. As autonomy-connectedness, the capacity for self-governance in interpersonal context, may affect reliance on others, we investigated whether stress-modulating effects of social support are moderated by autonomy-connectedness. Ninety-seven undergraduates completed measures on autonomy-connectedness and trait social anxiety, and attended a laboratory session with a friend (support) or alone (control). All underwent a virtual Trier Social Stress Test and completed anxiety, cortisol and heart rate (variability) measures. Preregistered analyses revealed that social support reduced anxiety reactivity and delayed heart rate variability decreases, but not heart rate. Contrary to hypotheses, autonomy-connectedness did not predict stress-reactivity or interact with condition. Exploratory analyses suggested effects of social support on cortisol reactivity and indicated that reported support quality varied by trait anxiety and self-awareness. Our findings underline the stress-modulating effects of social support and suggest that social support can benefit individuals with varying levels of autonomy-connectedness.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The present study was funded by the Tilburg University Alumni Fund , the Center of Research on Psychological and Somatic disorders (CoRPS) of Tilburg University, and the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology of Tilburg University .
© 2021 The Authors
- Social support