Inter-Relations between Partner-Provided Support and Self-Efficacy: A Dyadic Longitudinal Analysis

Appl Psychol Health Well Being. 2019 Nov;11(3):522-542. doi: 10.1111/aphw.12166. Epub 2019 Jun 24.


Background: Existing evidence indicates that social support may enhance recipients' self-efficacy (enabling hypothesis) or that self-efficacy facilitates support receipt (cultivation hypothesis). However, less is known about the time-lagged support-self-efficacy relationship in couples. Our aim was to disentangle reciprocal interrelations among stable and time-varying components of support provision and self-efficacy in couples over time.

Methods: We conducted secondary analyses of a published randomised controlled trial with six assessments, spanning 1 year and N = 338 heterosexual couples (age range: 18-80 years). Women's and men's reports on physical activity-specific provided support and physical activity-specific self-efficacy were analysed.

Results: Based on the actor-partner interdependence model, we compared nested random intercepts cross-lagged panel models. The final model revealed no gender effects. Stable levels of both partners' support provision and self-efficacy were positively associated. At the time-varying level, one partner's self-efficacy predicted the other partner's support provision later on. No lagged-association emerged for the opposite predictive direction.

Conclusions: Partners' stable shares of provided support and self-efficacy were interrelated, whereas higher time-varying self-efficacy of one partner seemed to activate support provision from the other partner, confirming the cultivation hypothesis but not the enabling hypothesis.

Keywords: actor-partner interdependence model; couple; cultivation hypothesis; enabling hypothesis; self-efficacy; social support.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult