Increasing social support for depressed individuals: A cross-cultural assessment of an affect-expectancy approach

Jason T. Siegel, Eusebio M. Alvaro, William D. Crano, Brianna A. Lienemann, Zachary P. Hohman, Erin O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Depression is a mental illness affecting 121 million people. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently launched a national, bilingual (English and Spanish) campaign to motivate young adults to support friends with mental illness. This article highlights and assesses the usefulness of two theoretically derived variables for increasing the social support received by all depressed individuals: (a) affect and (b) social support outcome expectations. In accord with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's bilingual campaign, the authors conducted two studies using intercepts at 2 swap meets in the U.S. Southwest. One study sample consisted of Spanish-dominant Hispanics, the other non-Hispanics. For both samples, results indicate that affect, social support outcome expectations, and their interaction accounted for more than 50% of the variance of social support intentions (67% in the Hispanic sample when familism was considered). Affect is commonplace in the helping behavior literature; results indicate social support outcome expectations deserve equal consideration. Moreover, an unexpected finding emerged: Perceiving a lack of willpower, need for attention, and lack of moral character to be the cause of depression resulted in increased sympathy among the Hispanic sample but increased anger among non-Hispanics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-732
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012


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