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Title: Social support and the wealthy porcupine: Pain, social support, money, and culture
Authors: Goodwin, R
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Citation: Psychological Inquiry. 19(3&4): 179-185
Abstract: Social support and social integration have been major topics of research for social scientists for many decades (e.g., Durkheim, 1897/1997). Social support is generally portrayed as a “good thing,” with numerous researchers providing evidence of both the buffering and direct impacts of support on mental and physiological well-being (e.g., Kraus, Liang, & Gu, 1998; Litwin, 2001) and the ability of support to be a buffer against physical and psychological pain (e.g., Lpez-Martnez, Esteve-Zarazaga & Ramrez-Maestre, 2008). In their target article, Zhou and Gao (this issue) also suggest that social support is an important buffer against pain but argue for a further buffer against both physical and social pain—money—that may be important if social support fails. They cite a number of ingenious experiments for the link between social support, money, and pain, claiming that money and support “complement each other in managing pain” (p. 127), continuing in a tradition of research examining the compensatory dynamics of money and interpersonal support (e.g., Foa & Foa, 1974). In doing so, they raise a number of important questions about pain management, social exclusion, social support, and material resources. In my commentary I focus in particular on their concerns with social support and materialism, aiming to address three aspects of their model: the relationship between social support and money; the connections between money, materialism, and well-being; and the role of culture in moderating the relationship between social support and money. To do this I draw on some of my own work in changing cultures and conduct brief analyses of data from the latest large-scale European Social Survey (ESS). I conclude by suggesting some ideas for further research that might help further elaborate the intriguing model proposed by Zhou and Gao.
ISSN: 1047-840X
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Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers

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