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Getting By With a Little Help From My Friends: A Pilot Study of the Measurement and Stability of Positive Social Support From Significant Others for Adolescents

  • Terry V. Bowles (a1) and John A. Hattie (a1)


Based on research into adult social support and the ecological model of development, we sought to redefine and establish the levels and nature of support provided to Year 7 (n = 52), 9 (n = 52) and Year 11 (n = 33) adolescents over a period of 3 months. A questionnaire to identify who provided support to adolescents was developed to measure instrumental, informational and emotional support, and add siblings to the primary support network. Factor analysis confirmed the expected four-factor model of support, with parents, teachers, siblings and friends providing different levels and priorities of support. Results indicated high levels of internal consistency and test–retest reliability. Trends in the amount of social support generally showed a decrease from Time 1 to Time 2, significantly so from parents and teachers. Females indicated they received significantly more support from friends in comparison with males, regardless of year level. Year 7 students indicated significantly higher support from parents and teachers. Importantly, this study showed the general decline of social support from early to late adolescence, and the relative consistency of social support for male and female adolescents. The different types of supports provided to the individuals in the adolescents’ social network are discussed.


Corresponding author

ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE: Terry Bowles, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, 100 Leicester St, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia. Email:


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Getting By With a Little Help From My Friends: A Pilot Study of the Measurement and Stability of Positive Social Support From Significant Others for Adolescents

  • Terry V. Bowles (a1) and John A. Hattie (a1)


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