A sample of 1150 unemployed 17 year-olds, containing blacks and whites, males and females, was obtained from 11 urban regions in England. Social support was measured in respect of five different forms of help from others. Measures were also obtained of psychological distress, perceived pressure from others to obtain a job, employment commitment, contact with other young people, and contact with other unemployed young people. Two forms of social support (having someone to turn to for help with money, and having someone to suggest interesting things to do) were significantly associated with measures of distress, as were perceived pressure to obtain a job and employment commitment, but not contact with other unemployed young people. The association between distress and having someone to turn to for help with money was greater for those perceiving pressure from others to obtain a job than those not perceiving pressure. Also, the association between distress and having someone to turn to when feeling low was greater for those with a high employment commitment than for those with a low one. Other associations between support and distress were found to be affected by sex and ethnic differences in the sample. The results are discussed in the light of a stress-buffering model of social support; and the need to disaggregate social support into its component parts is emphasized.