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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, Vol. 51 Issue (4) : 497-506     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00497
Reports of Empirical Studies |
Social support buffers acute psychological stress in individuals with high interdependent self-construal
REN Xi,WANG Yan,HU Xiang,YANG Juan()
Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Ministry of Education, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
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Abstract  

Individuals with high interdependent self-construal generally define themselves as a social role, and assign great values to their social relationships. Social evaluation threat is an important situational factor that induces psychosocial stress. However, it is not known whether individuals with high interdependent self-construal will exhibit more intense stress responses under situations of psychological stress. In addition, social support represents an important factor for the individual’s acceptance by the social group. However, it remains unknown whether social support is effective in coping with the stress responses induced by psychological stress in the high interdependent self-construal individuals. Therefore, the present study sought to investigate: (1) the psychosocial stress response of the high interdependent self-construal individuals; (2) the roles of social support in coping with the psychological stress for high interdependent self-construal individuals. We hypothesized that: (1) the high interdependent self-construal individuals would have greater stress response under psychological stress situations; (2) in the context of social support, individuals with high interdependent self-construal will exhibit lower stress levels.

We selected 60 college students in a University (Chongqing, China) through advertisements. The 60 participants were randomly divided into two groups: the self support-priming group and social support-priming group. The experiences of self support or social support were induced by different primings. A version of the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) adapted for Chinese was used to induce the acute psychosocial stress. We used salivary cortisol, heart rate and subjective reported stress as indicators of stress. Throughout the course of the experiment, we performed 7 separate measurements of these indices, and evaluated the interdependent self-construal using the self-construal scale.

Using two-way ANOVA with priming as a between-subject variable and time points as a within-subject variable, we discovered a significant effect of the time points: salivary cortisol, F(6, 258) = 15.83, p < 0.001, ηp 2 = 0.269; heart rate, F(7, 301) = 69.15, p < 0.001, ηp 2 = 0.617; subjective reported stress, F(6, 258) = 67.58, p < 0.001, ηp 2 = 0.611. We used the area under the curve with respect to the increase (AUCi) of time points of the three stress indices as the changes in stress levels across the experiment. The independent-sample t-test revealed that the AUCi of the salivary cortisol of the group with social support was significantly lower than that of the self support group: t(43) = 1.95, p = 0.058, d’ = 0.594, 95% CI [-0.022, 1.314]. The AUCg of the heart rate and subjective reported stress showed no significant differences between the two priming groups. Furthermore, we used the AUCi of cortisol to assess changes in stress levels. We conducted linear regression analysis with the AUCi of cortisol as the dependent variable, and priming and interdependent self-construal as the independent variables. The interaction effect of priming and interdependent self-construal was significant: β = -0.27, p = 0.038, ΔR 2 = 0.073, 95% CI [-0.528, -0.016]. We adopted a simple slope test for further analysis. The results indicated that the stress level of high interdependent self-construal individuals who accepted social support were significantly lower than those under self support: β = -0.75, t = -3.59, p < 0.001. In contrast, these differences were not identified in individuals with low interdependent self-construal.

Taken together, consistent with previous reports, the present study found that the individuals with high interdependent self-construal exhibit more intense stress response under the psychosocial stress. Furthermore, we discovered that for individuals with high interdependent self-construal, social support could effectively alleviate their stress response. These results provide an effective stress coping strategy for individuals with high interdependent self-construal.

Keywords acute psychological stress      interdependent self-construal      social support      TSST     
ZTFLH:  B845  
Corresponding Authors: Juan YANG     E-mail: valleyqq@swu.edu.cn
Issue Date: 22 February 2019
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Xi REN
Yan WANG
Xiang HU
Juan YANG
Cite this article:   
Xi REN,Yan WANG,Xiang HU, et al. Social support buffers acute psychological stress in individuals with high interdependent self-construal[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(4): 497-506.
URL:  
http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00497     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2019/V51/I4/497
任务名称 时间(min) 实验流程和数据收集
基线 0 佩戴心电仪器, 讲解指导语, 填写自我构念量表, 休息。唾液样本(1)、主观应激报告(1)、心电(1)
启动任务 10 启动任务, 10分钟。唾液样本(2)、主观应激报告(2)、心电(2)
TSST前 20 TSST准备阶段, 10分钟。唾液样本(3)、主观应激报告(3)、心电(3)
TSST 30 TSST10分钟。唾液样本(4)、主观应激报告(4)、心电(4)
休息1 40 休息10分钟, 唾液样本(5)、主观应激报告(5)、心电(5)
休息2 50 休息10分钟, 唾液样本(6)、主观应激报告(6)、心电(6)
休息3 60 唾液样本(7)、主观应激报告(7)、心电(7)
  
  
  
  
指标 启动 M SD t p
AUCi主观报告 自我支持 1.64 4.10 -0.19 0.85
社会支持 1.94 6.00
AUCi心率 自我支持 10.71 34.66 -1.23 0.23
社会支持 24.68 39.03
AUCi皮质醇 自我支持 1.25 1.50 1.95 0.06
社会支持 0.61 0.70
  
步骤 B SE β t p ΔR2
步骤1
启动 -0.29 0.15 -0.29 -1.95 0.06 0.08
步骤2
启动 -0.38 0.14 -0.38 -2.82 0.007 0.19
互依自我 0.45 0.13 0.45 3.34 0.002
步骤3
启动 -0.39 0.13 -0.39 -2.99 0.005 0.07
互依自我 0.43 0.13 0.43 3.32 0.002
启动×互依自我 -0.27 0.13 -0.27 -2.14 0.038
  
  
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