Supportive communication is associated with markers of immunocompetence

Kory Floyd, Perry M. Pauley, Colin Hesse, Jen Eden, Alice E. Veksler, Nathan T. Woo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Previous studies have determined that the perception or receipt of social support is correlated with several health outcomes including enhanced immunocompetence. In comparison, fewer studies have examined the effects that the expression of social support has on individuals. Among those studies that have assessed the expression of support, most have examined the deleterious effects on personal health associated with providing long-term care for a partner with a serious illness. On the basis of affection exchange theory, the present study examined the hypothesis that, in non-distressed relationships, the expression of support is associated with immunological health. Thirty-nine healthy adults completed questionnaires designed to assess their levels of expressed and received social support. Afterward, all participants completed a blood draw to assess immunological outcomes. The expression of support was positively associated with six of eight immunological outcomes assessed. Additional analyses revealed that four of those relationships remained significant while controlling for the effects of received support. The results add to our understanding of the dyadic processes involved in the expression of social support and confirm affection exchange theory’s assertion that the expression of support is beneficial to individuals’ relational and physical health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-244
Number of pages16
JournalSouthern Communication Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 8 2018


  • Social support
  • affection exchange theory
  • health
  • immunocompetence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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