Traditional Support Systems: Are They Sufficient in a Culturally Diverse Academic Environment?

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The present study explores the relationship between perceived social support and well-being among students of the three main populations living in Israel: Israeli-born Jews, Israeli-born Arabs and Russian immigrants. More specifically, it compares the well-being of these three groups and examines to what extent perceived social support actually contributes to their well-being. The sample comprised 278 undergradute students in the schools of social work and nursing at one of the major universities in Israel. Three instruments were used. Well-being was measured by both the Brief Symptoms Inventory Scale (Derogatis, 1979) and the Beck Depression Inventory (Beck and Steer, 1987). Perceived social support was assessed by the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (Zimet et al., 1988). The findings show that the Arab students are significantly more distressed than their Jewish and Russian counterparts on all measures of well-being. At the same time, their perceived social support is significantly higher than that of the Jewish students (both Israeli-born Jews and Russian immigrants). Stepwise linear regression analysis revealed that while perceived social support was a major contributor to the explanation of well-being among the Israeli students, it did not surface as a significant explanatory predictor of well-being among either Arabs or Russian immigrants. The significance of the findings is discussed within the theoretical frameworks of stress and social support theories as well as modernization and immigration processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-638
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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