PSYC 3690 Chapter Notes -Appropriate Behavior, Seiko Epson

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Published on 14 Apr 2013
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Article #: 26
Title: Reactions to Victims of Life Crises: Support Attempts That Fail
- in most discussions of social support, it is generally assumed that support attempts
made by the provider will be valued and appreciated by the receiver
- there is growing awareness that in many cases, othersʼ well-intentioned efforts to
provide support may be regarded as unhelpful by the recipient, may result in negative
consequences, or both
- other frequently tried to support by making statements like “I know exactly how you
feel,” or “it was Godʼs will” - these were commonly judged as unhelpful
- this paper will focus on 3 basic reasons why people may respond to victims of life
crises in ways that are unsupportive:
1. for many reasons, people appear to hold negative feelings about others who are
suffering or distressed
- the more unfortunate the victimʼs plight or the more distress they show, the more
threatened others may become
- individuals in greatest need of social support may be the least likely to get it
2. Most people have relatively little experience dealing with others who are in the throes
of life crisis
- their anxiety may be heightened by the awareness that the victim is very vulnerable
3. Others appear to hold a number of misconceptions about how people should react to
undesirable life events
Feelings Elicited by Victims of Life Crisis
- people often hold negative feelings about others who are suffering, unhappy or in need
of help
- this shatters our own illusions of invulnerability, or evokes strong feelings of
hopelessness
- elicit fears and anxieties about what lies ahead, and whether the support provider will
be able to handle the increased demands that may be placed on them
- events like this force us to realize that these negative outcomes can happen to anyone
at any time
- we are motivated to believe that the world is a just place where “people get what they
deserve and deserve what they get”
- in order to reduce distress, we will look for weaknesses in the victimʼs behaviour to
explain the incident
- contact with victims of life crisis may evoke strong feelings of helplessness - feeling
that there is little that they can say or do to alleviate the victimʼs pain or improve his or
her situation
- victimization amy significantly and permanently disrupt the relationship with the victim
as their as their own lives - spouse or family members
Uncertainties about Appropriate Behaviour
- most potential supporters may experience intense anxiety about the prospect of
interacting with a person who has experienced a life crisis
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Document Summary

Title: reactions to victims of life crises: support attempts that fail. In most discussions of social support, it is generally assumed that support attempts made by the provider will be valued and appreciated by the receiver. There is growing awareness that in many cases, others well-intentioned efforts to provide support may be regarded as unhelpful by the recipient, may result in negative consequences, or both. Other frequently tried to support by making statements like i know exactly how you feel, or it was god s will - these were commonly judged as unhelpful. The more unfortunate the victim s plight or the more distress they show, the more threatened others may become. Individuals in greatest need of social support may be the least likely to get it: most people have relatively little experience dealing with others who are in the throes.

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