Adolescence is often a stressful period during development because it involves a pivotal transition from childhood dependency to adulthood dependency and self-sufficiency (Smith, Cowie, & Blades, 1998). One major challenge that adolescents encounter during their teenage years involves acquiring a sense of personal agency in what often seems to be a recalcitrant word.
Adolescents in our societies are viewed as leaders of tomorrow. They are endowed with enormous potentials and talents to succeed in their different ambitions and set goals for life. For these goals to be achieved, it requires dedication, sacrifices, self-discipline, motivation and cordial relationship between them as their parents, peers (both in school and social gathering), and from the environment with which they find themselves. Adolescents at this level are saddled with a lot of responsibilities and challenges (Imonikebe, 2009) which may sometimes result in stress. They need good mental health and functional social supportive networks to be able to succeed in these tasks and pursuits. As the responsibilities and challenges increase and new social relations are established, adolescents, sometimes become uncertain of their abilities to meet these demands Dwyer & Cummings (2001). Difficulties in handling the ensuring stressor often lead to decreased performance in areas like academic achievements/performance and interpersonal relations, as such increasing psychological distress and negative attitudes towards learning and life (Dwyer & Cummings, Salami, 2006). All these invariably pose challenges to the much sought qualities social support network, hence the need to elaborate on the concept of social support.
Social support (SS), perception to Bames (1854) is the perception and actuality that one is for, has assistance available from other people, and that one is part of a supportive social network. These supportive network resources can be categorized into emotional support (nurturance), tangible support (financial assistance), informational support (advice), and/or companionship support (sense of belonging). However, other scholars have also view social support in their own perspective. For example Hagihara, Tarumi, and Miller (1998) defined social support as the provision and receipt of tangible and tangible goals, services, and benefits/such as encouragement and reassurance) in the context of informational relationships (e.g. family, friends, co-workers, co-students, and lecturers). It has also been argued that social support is too complex to be limited to a single theoretical concept (Vanx, 1988), as a result, comprehensive models that incorporate the major elements of most current conceptualization of social support have been developed (Cutronor & Rusell, 1987). These vast elaboration of social support, is hereby viewed as a comprehensive dimension towards understanding it effectively (Alankee, Johnson & Hunt, 1998).
Social support has also been defined as the physical and emotional comfort given to us by our family, friend, colleagues and others. It is knowing that we are part of a community of people who love and care for us, valued and think well of us. it is the sum of the social emotional and instrumental exchanges with which the individual is involved having the subjective consequence that an individual sees him or herself as an object of continuing valued in the eyes of significant others (Gordy, 1996). Social support means the sum of all the relationships that make a person feel as if he or she matters to the people who matter to him or her. Social support can come in many different forms. Experts who study human relationship have identified three main types of social support. Alarie (1996), concluded by saying that these forms of social support are meant to have a positive impact on individual adolescents life and health, but they can also have negative consequences. Moreso, many studies have demonstrated that being integrated into social networks and receiving high levels of social support are important for mental health, high productivity and performance, as well as encourages attainment of set goals and well being, particularly for adolescents (Kessler & Mclead, 1995; Alarie, 1996). The number of social contacts, both close and not too close, is related to higher levels of well-being. Within relationships, different types of support from different sources may benefit health-such as emotional practical and informational support (Houze & Kalin, 1995). Stansfelf & Sproton (2002); Alarie (1996) in their different studies observed that on the other hand, close relationship may be stressful as well as stress relieving, and high levels of negative interaction within relationship increase the risk of mental ill-health.
Taken together, Goodenew, 1993; Levitt, Guacci-Fanco & Levitt, 1994; and Wentzel, 1998, viewed social support as a morale booster or forces, on which adolescent enjoyed from their parent peers, and/or teachers based on their life pursuit and target goals. They also expatiate that, adolescent’s perceived social support is associated with their academic achievement, in that they/adolescents enjoying social support) do fare better in both emotional reasoning and self-efficacy and self-esteem than those who do not perceived their socializers as such. In a contrary view, other scholars posited that, despite the growing body of evidence on the associations between the perception of supportive social relationship, academic achievements, emotional reasoning and high self-efficacy/self esteem, the mechanisms through which social support exerts its influence on these achievements are seldom, as such supportive social relationships may influence adolescents’ behaviour indirectly through motivational and affective mechanisms, that is, may precipitate positive or negative affective experiences, such as (enjoyment, anxiety, anger) as well as adaptive or maladaptive self and task related motivational beliefs (example, self competence beliefs and subjective value), which in turn predicts the potency of social support network.
Also, Furman & Buhrmesten (1992), in their own perspective, described social support as a period when youth perceive their parents and teachers as less supportive whereas their perception of peer support peaks to the maximum. Thus, making adolescence stage, an ideal period for the examination of perceived social support on the emotional well-being, self-efficacy as well as behaviour-exhibited, with particular emphasis on affective and motivational mechanisms, which happen to be influx.
Social support can be measured as the perception that on has assistance available, the actual received assistance, or the degree to which a person is integrated in a social network. Social support on the other hand has been linked to many benefits for both physical and mental health, but to an extent, social support is not always beneficial, this is in reference to the two main models as proposed to the link between social support and health: the buffering hypothesis and the direct effects hypothesis.[email protected].[email protected].