Age and Social Support Seeking: Understanding the Role of Perceived Social Costs to Others

Li Jiang, Aimee Drolet, Heejung S. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We examined age differences in the use of different types of social support and the reasons for these differences. We found that older adults (age 60+) seek explicit social support less compared with young adults (age 18-25), but there is no difference in implicit social support seeking. Concerns about the potential social costs of seeking explicit support mediate the age differences in explicit social support seeking. Whereas young adults view this strategy as conferring more benefits than costs, older adults have a more balanced view of the costs and benefits of explicit social support seeking. Older and young adults do not differ in perceptions of the relative costs versus benefits of implicit social support seeking. Finally, we found older adults benefit more from implicit (vs. explicit) social support emotionally than young adults, which further explains why age groups differ in their use of explicit versus implicit social support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1104-1116
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, 2018 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.


  • aging
  • coping
  • social support
  • stress


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