Social support has been shown to act as a buffer for cardiovascular responses to stress. However, little is known about how social support and networks are related to cardiovascular responses to immigration stress recall. The current study evaluated the impact of structural and functional support on cardiovascular reaction following immigrant stress recall provocation as well as the moderation effect of interdependent self-construal among first-generation Chinese immigrants. One hundred fifty Chinese immigrants were recruited in the New York Chinatown area. Participants completed questionnaires assessing their levels of social support and networks, and interdependent self-construal. Following adaptation, participants recalled a recent post-immigration stress-provoking situation. Cardiovascular measures were taken during adaptation, stressor task, and recovery period. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was performed. Social network size and type, as well as perceived emotional support were positively predictive of systolic blood pressure (SBP) reactivity changes. Instrumental support seeking was a positive predictor of SBP and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) reactivity. The moderation effect between instrumental support seeking and interdependent self-construal were significantly predictive of DBP reactivity and recovery, suggesting that perceptions about themselves in relation to others is a crucial factor for determining whether support seeking is beneficial or not. Social support was not a direct buffer on cardiovascular responses to stress among Chinese immigrants. Chinese values of interdependence and collectivism may partly explain the disconfirming results. Still, when interdependent self-construal was taken into account, Chinese immigrants who had less interdependent self-construal, but solicited more instrumental support, had faster adaptation to stress over the long term.
- Cardiovascular health
- Social network
- Social support
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health