Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



Evidence suggests that social support can mitigate some of the harmful effects of stress on health. Social support theorists argue that certain social groups have differential access to social support; therefore, certain social groups are at a higher risk of experiencing psychiatric symptoms. Although social networks are beyond the scope of these analyses, it is an important component to consider when examining the uneven distributions of social support between social groups. If racial differences exist in the networks in which individuals are embedded, then part of the differential access to social support could be explained by examining the various compositions of networks. This thesis examines racial differences in the social support process. Using data collected on recovery support during Hurricane Georges, I examine: (1) whether and how social support systems for blacks and whites differ in nonroutine situations and (2) whether the relationship among stress, support, and depression differ between blacks and whites. My results indicate that blacks are less likely than whites to receive instrumental support in the preparation phase of the storm and blacks who receive less instrumental support after the storm are more likely to suffer from depression. This suggests that future research should explore systematic differences in blacks’ and whites’ network characteristics, including the types of resources, and the variations in the network structure.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Jeanne S. Hurlbert

Included in

Sociology Commons