Stress Negative Social Exchange and Health Symptoms in University Students

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Although social support has been studied extensively in terms of its role in the relationship between stress and health, less attention has been devoted to the impact of negative social interactions. In this investigation, the authors examined the unique contributions of positive social support and negative social exchange in the relationship between stress and health symptoms, using data from 206 undergraduates at a large state university. Negative social exchange accounted for more variance in physical health symptoms than did life-event stress, daily hassles, or social support. The relationship between negative social interaction and physical symptoms was not the result of variance shared with psychological well-being. The importance of attending to negative aspects of social interaction among university students in terms of their health and well-being is discussed.

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