Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4014-0062

Year of Publication

2021

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Communication and Information

Department/School/Program

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer A. Scarduzio

Abstract

Social support is integral to helping one manage Major Depressive Disorder [MDD], but enacted social support, or the supportive behavior itself, is not always beneficial. Using a normative theoretical perspective on social support and theory related to sequencing as guiding frameworks, in this thesis I examined common sequential patterns of enacted support between support providers and individuals with MDD. Moreover, I investigated how individuals with MDD evaluated the helpfulness of each of the different sequential patterns. To examine the sequential patterns and how individuals with MDD evaluated their helpfulness, I interviewed 20 participants who had been diagnosed with MDD. The results of this thesis revealed five sequential patterns and revealed instances when participants considered each pattern to be helpful or unhelpful. The results extend literature specifically on unsolicited support by showing instances when participants considered unsolicited support to be beneficial and needed. Furthermore, one of the five patterns, forced support, is a new concept that has not been discussed in sequencing literature. Practically, this thesis provides suggestions for loved ones aiming to support someone with MDD, such as listening without offering advice or providing specific types of unsolicited support, such as unsolicited instrumental support while avoiding other types of unsolicited support, such as unsolicited informational support.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2021.264

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