Stress, structural social support, and well-being in university students

Alan Reifman, Christine Dunkel-Schetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This paper reports an investigation of the relationship between college students' social support and social interaction and their health and well-being. The authors analyzed data from a telephone survey of 161 students at a large state university to test for stress-buffering and main effects on well-being of four types of structural social support. Frequency of participating in activities with other students was negatively associated with depression symptoms and positively associated with feelings of health and physical fitness. The other support measures (number of friends on campus and whether respondents belonged to groups on campus or had a romantic relationship) yielded less consistent main effects and Stress x Support interactions that were inconsistent with a buffering model. Interpretations that focus on the role of affectively positive social activities in the well-being of college students are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-277
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College Health Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 1990


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