The Impact of Received Social Support on Posttraumatic Growth After Disaster: The Importance of Both Support Quantity and Quality

Fanhong Shang, Krzysztof Kaniasty, Sean Cowlishaw, Darryl Wade, Hong Ma, David Forbes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Few studies have investigated the relationship between received social support (actual help received) and posttraumatic growth (PTG), and these studies focused only on the quantity of support received. This study examined the joint implications of both the quantity and quality of postdisaster received social support for PTG. Method: Data were collected from Lushan earthquake (China, in 2013) survivors at 7 (n = 199) and 31 (n = 161) months after the earthquake. The main effects of quantity and quality of received support, and the interaction between support quantity and support quality, were examined using hierarchical multiple regression analyses controlling for the extent of disaster exposure, postdisaster negative life events, and sociodemographic factors. Results: Neither quantity nor quality of received social support exerted significant main effects on PTG. However, the influence of the amount of received social support on PTG was moderated by the quality of received social support. Among survivors who appraised the postdisaster social support they received as higher in quality, greater amounts of received support were associated with more subsequent PTG. Among those survivors who appraised the postdisaster social support they received as lower in quality, greater quantity of received support was associated with lower levels of reported PTG. Conclusion: This study calls attention to the importance of enhancing the quality of help provided to disaster survivors because simply “more” support is not necessarily better.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1134-1141
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Disaster
  • Posttraumatic growth
  • Quality of help
  • Received social support

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