Supportive interactions, negative interactions, and depressed mood

Am J Community Psychol. 1990 Jun;18(3):423-38. doi: 10.1007/BF00938116.


Research on the association between social relationships and emotional functioning has emphasized the health-promoting effects of social support. Yet there is reason to believe that the absence of negative social interactions may be more important for mental health than the presence of supportive interactions. In this investigation we clarify important characteristics concerning the source, the recipient, and the combined influence of support and negativity. Data are presented regarding supportive and negative interactions with spouse, relatives, and friends; regression analyses suggest that negative interactions are more predictive of depressed mood than supportive interactions (specifically with spouse and friends). We also document several specifications suggesting directions for future research on the special importance of interactions in intimate relationships and the synergistic effects of situations in which supportive and negative interactions both occur.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Personality Tests
  • Social Support*