Support-Seeking and Closeness Across Social Relationships: Relationship-General and Relationship-Specific Levels Analysis


  • Chong Man Chow
  • Ryan Glaman


The current study examined whether interpersonal behaviors and perceptions could be conceptualized and measured as relationship-general versus relationship-specific tendencies. To address this goal, we examined (1) the similarities (or concordance) in support-seeking across individuals’ social relationships and (2) how support-seeking may be related to relationship closeness at the relationship-general and relationship-specific levels. Participants were recruited from a regional university and granted course credits for participation. The final sample included 189 undergraduate students with age ranging from 18 to 21 years (M = 18.81; SD = .95), with a total of 66% females and 87% White-Americans. Results suggest that individuals expressed similar rates of support-seeking across parental, best-friend, and romantic relationships. Supporting our hypotheses, a relationship-general correlation suggests that individuals who are more likely to seek social support also perceived their social relationships as generally more intimate. Controlling for relationship-general tendencies, results also suggest that support-seeking was related to relationship closeness for each type of relationship. Theoretical and methodological implications are discussed.