Support Means Direct Help: Filipino Adolescents’ Multidimensional Conceptualization of Social Support

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This study investigated Filipino adolescents’ conceptualization of social support. While Western literature suggests that adolescents, in their developmental task of growing towards independence and individuality, prefer emotional support and acceptance in achieving these goals, it is worthwhile to discover what Filipino adolescents define as supportive in their lives, given a collectivist and interdependent cultural background. In-depth interviews were done with 89 male adolescents. Results reveal that social support among Filipino adolescents is conceptualized mainly as hands-on support. Advice, personal assistance, and being challenged are conceptualized as expressions of care and concern, rather than as intrusive acts. Furthermore, Filipino adolescents have a wide source of social support, with different social support providers perceived as having a particular niche in terms of the kind of social support they provide. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.