Well-Being among Minority Students: The Role of Perceived Social Support

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• Summary: The present study explores the relationship between perceived social support and well-being among students in the two main populations living in Israel: Jews and Arabs. More specifically, it compares the well-being of Israeli Jewish students and Palestinian students and examines the role of social support in their well-being. The sample comprised 207 undergraduate students in the schools of social work and nursing at one of the major universities in Israel, where more than half of the Palestinian students are enrolled. Three instruments were used: Psychological distress was measured by both the Brief Symptoms Inventory Scale(BSI;Derogatis, 1979) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI; Beck and Steer, 1987) perceived social support was assessed by the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support(MSPSS;Zimet et al., 1988). • Findings: Findings show that the Palestinian students are significantly more distressed than their Jewish counterparts, according to all measures of well-being. At the same time, their perceived social support is significantly higher than that of the Jewish students. • Applications: The significance of the findings is discussed within the frameworks of stress and social support theories, as well as the modernization process and the prevailing norms and values of Arab culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-225
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • social support
  • social work education
  • socio-political minorities
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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