Differential Influence of Social Support in Emerging Adulthood Across Sources of Support and Profiles of Interpersonal and Non-Interpersonal Potentially Traumatic Experiences


Social support is protective against the negative effects of trauma, yet how these effects vary across sources of support and patterns of trauma exposure has not been examined. High co-occurrence exists among different types of trauma across domains and ages, yielding patterns of trauma exposure that may affect social support. This study identified profiles of potentially traumatic events (PTEs) experienced by 252 college students and examined the relationships between social support and mental health across these profiles. Five profiles emerged: “Non-Interpersonal Trauma Exposure,” “Adult Intimate Partner Violence,” “Poly-trauma Exposure,” “Low Trauma Exposure,” and “Childhood Family Violence.” The link between social support and adjustment differed across profiles. Family support was valuable for promoting resilience across patterns of PTEs. Friend and romantic partner support were related to lower mental health problems. Support from family and friends is particularly valuable in the context of adult intimate partner violence and childhood family violence.

Publication Title

Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma