Developing a better understanding of daily support transactions across a major life transition : the role that locus of control plays in the process



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While much research has shown that being in a supportive relationship can buffer individuals from both the physical and psychological effects of stressful life events (House, Landis, & Umberson, 1988; Uchino, 2004), research concerning actual support exchanges, specifically receiving support, has been associated with negative effects (Gleason, Iida, Bolger, & Shrout, 2003; Gleason, Iida, Shrout, & Bolger, 2008). Understanding the differential effects of this process on mood and health is the focus of this study. The current paper adds to the existing literature by first, theoretically replicating previously established support transaction patterns and their effects on mood within committed couples and second, investigating the role that personality (i.e., perceived control) plays in moderating the effects of support on mood and health outcomes. In a daily diary study of 78 couples expecting their first child, I investigate the within and between-person associations between control, support, mood, and health. Couples were asked to independently complete three weeks of daily diaries at three different time points (i.e., during their third trimester, infancy, and toddlerhood). With the exception of women in their third trimester of pregnancy, we theoretically replicate previous support patterns and the effects on mood and find both state- and trait- level control to be important in this process such that the greater an individual's sense of control, the more he or she is buffered from negative influence of support transactions. Hypotheses concerning support and health are only partially supported in that receiving support and negative health symptoms are positively associated.