Research by Lee, David S. & Way, Baldwin M. (2019).
Written by Shannon Cantalupo, B.S.
Do you think you have strong social support? Believe others have your back? Be there when in need? When we believe we have social support, we are more likely to have better mental and physical well-being. Does our perception of ourselves, our self-esteem influence our having more social support, thus likely have better health benefits?
Ohio State University psychologists assessed if the relationship between social support and physical health was dependent on an individual’s self-esteem. Over nine hundred middle-aged adults completed questionnaires on perceived social support, self-esteem, sociodemographic information, and health-related behaviors. Researchers collected blood samples of C-Reactive protein at a two-year follow-up to assess participants’ physical health.
Results? Those who perceived they had social support had better health (indicated by protein levels) if they had high self-esteem. But not if they had low self-esteem. These findings supported the research hypothesis. Self-esteem is key to influencing the link between our seeing ourselves as having social support and our having better physical health.
So, if you have high self-esteem and perceived social support, you are likely in good physical health! Support and encourage others’ self-esteem. Observe and point out what they do well! That you care.
Lee, D. S. & Way, B. M. (2019). Perceived social support and chronic inflammation: The moderating role of self-esteem. Health Psychology, 38(6), 563-566.