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Too Late: Perceiving Rejection in Delayed Support

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Too Late: Perceiving Rejection in Delayed Support
Zhao, Yitong
People frequently seek social support to relieve their distress following negative personal events. However, support is not always immediately received by seekers once they disclosed their need to a supporter. The current investigation focuses on support delay – that is, the time period since support is sought by seekers and until it is eventually received. Given that received support is not always perceived as of high quality, existing literatures have extensively discussed the predictors of support perceptions during support receipt. Few studies have examined predictors of support perceptions during support delay. We propose that prolonged support delays may worsen seekers’ support perceptions because they signal supporter’s unavailability and possible rejection. In our model of delayed support, we hypothesized that seekers would perceive a longer delay as more rejecting when they are waiting to receive support. Those who perceived rejection during delay will be more likely to feel rejected during support, which should be associated with worse perceived support quality. We tested these hypotheses in two MTurk recall studies. In both studies, regression analysis results support our hypotheses in support-seeking via instant messaging. We also found that the association between length of delay and perceived rejection was attenuated by supporters’ reassurance messaging (Study 1&2) and amplified by seekers’ attachment anxiety (Study 1). We additionally tested the generalizability of our model in Study 2 across conditions. The association between length of delay and perceived rejection was only present for support-seeking contexts where seekers disclosed negative personal experiences, but not positive or neutral disclosures. Together, these findings help advance our understanding of delays’ social consequences in support seeking and in messaging communication.
affect regulation
close relationships
computer-mediated communication
interpersonal rejection
support seeking
Kammrath, Lara K (committee chair)
Fleeson, William (committee member)
Cole, Veronica (committee member)
Krcmar, Marina (committee member)
2021-09-01T08:35:24Z (accessioned)
2021-09-01T08:35:24Z (available)
2021 (issued)
Psychology (discipline)
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/99058 (uri)
en (iso)
Wake Forest University

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