This study explores community beliefs regarding the hierarchy of resort for social support across different contexts. A sample of community members (n=60) in a small southwestern city was asked to rank-order their preferences for assistance for eight specific scenarios. Six of the scenarios came from the General Social Survey (GSS) and two were added after open-ended interviews with community members indicated that “caring for a loved one” and “having problems at work” were also relevant for this population. Analysis of the ranked responses with the cultural consensus model (Romney, Batchelder, and Weller 1987) indicated that there was a single, shared model among community members about the desired ordering of resort for each scenario. Some variation was found between minority and non-minority respondents, with minorities tending to prefer kin sources over non-kin sources of support. Also, a comparison of the community preferred order to aggregate GSS responses on available support (n=1,428) for six of the scenarios indicated a strong similarity between community preferences and U.S. national patterns for available social support. Results are discussed in terms of the “convoy,” hierarchical compensatory, and task-specific models of social support.

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