Social support and decision-making in hospitalized adolescents
Zuckerman, Victoria Hamelsky
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Adolescents' perception of social support was compared between two hospitalized adolescents groups: one group who attempted suicide and one that did not. Social support was defined as the adolescents' perception of the people available in his/her life who help when there is a problem. Several other dimensions of support were looked at as well. These included the actual supporters during a difficult time, the amount of satisfaction the adolescent felt about the support received and the need the adolescent felt for six types of supportive behaviors. In addition to social support, Rational/Deliberate decision making skills were assessed as well as depression, stress and suicidal ideation between the two experimental groups.;There were several hypotheses proposed in this study. Primarily that the two groups would differ on their levels of perceived support, satisfaction with support and need for support. Specifically, it was proposed that the adolescents who attempted suicide would feel they had lower levels of support. This might be indicative of an area of intervention for suicide attempters. Other hypotheses included differences between the two groups on specific types of social support in order to try to propose a profile of the suicide attempter's areas of need. Decision making skills were also hypothesized to be different between the two groups, with the attempters having less rational decision making skills.;A structured interview was used for all subjects. The results indicate that there were some differences between the two groups on the issue of social support. The main differences found were that the attempters had fewer people they called actual supports than the non-attempters. When social support was broken down into types, attempters perceived that they had less support in the areas of advice, positive feedback and physical assistance. In terms of actual support, the felt that they had less positive feedback than non-attempters. Attempters also felt a greater need for intimate interaction and advice than the other group. No differences were found for the variables decision making or stress between the groups.