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Examining social support and its relation to worry in Malaysia

  • Aneesa Binti Ahmad Saifuddin (a1), Cai Lian Tam (a1), Peng Chong Lim (a2) and Gregory Bonn (a3)


This study examined the role of social support in managing worry among a sample of Malaysian adults. An online questionnaire was completed by 136 participants (age M = 34, SD = 7.65; 71% female, 29% male). Each wrote open-ended, essay-type descriptions of their experiences with social support in relation to worry, as well as completing measures of pathological worry (Penn State Worry Questionnaire), normal worry (Worry Domains Questionnaire), and perceived social support (Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support). Results indicated that young adults experienced a higher degree of normal worry compared to older adults, but pathological worry was not significantly different between the two groups. No significant differences in worry were found in relation to gender, ethnicity or marital status. Perceived social support was negatively related to levels of both normal and pathological worry. Qualitative analyses pointed towards four important roles for social support: providing a sense of belonging and security, providing emotional relief or catharsis, helping to reappraise situations, and facilitating problem-solving and decision-making. The role of social support as a secure base that facilitates emotion management and helps to ground thinking is discussed.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Gregory Bonn, Email:


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Examining social support and its relation to worry in Malaysia

  • Aneesa Binti Ahmad Saifuddin (a1), Cai Lian Tam (a1), Peng Chong Lim (a2) and Gregory Bonn (a3)


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