Provision of Invisible Support: the Other Side of the Coin
1University of Zurich, Switzerland
2Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
3Columbia University, New York, USA
Social support, which is unnoticed by the receiver (i.e., invisible support) seems to be most beneficial for the receiver`s well-being. The provider`s perspective has rather been neglected so far. This study sheds light on how invisible support is related to the provider`s well-being. Around a self-set quit attempt we examined 106 smokers and their non-smoking partners, assessing their smoking-related received and provided support to determine the degree of invisible support. In addition, the partner’s relationship satisfaction and three weeks after the smoker’s quit attempt the partner`s positive and negative affect were assessed. Invisible support was negatively related to partners’ positive affect. Relationship satisfaction moderated the relation of invisible support and negative affect: For partners with higher relationship satisfaction more invisible support was related to less negative affect, while for partners with lower relationship satisfaction no such association emerged. The study`s results emphasize that invisible support might have emotional costs for the provider. Relationship satisfaction seems to serve as a protective factor.