Bar Examinations and Bar Passage

The Effects of Daily Support Transactions During Acute Stress: Results From a Diary Study of Bar Exam Preparation

Patrick E. Shrout, New York University
Niall Bolger, Columbia University
Masumi Iida, Arizona State University
Christopher T. Burke, Lehigh University
Marci E. J. Gleason, University of Texas at Austin
Sean P. Lane, Purdue University


Although social support is known to be beneficial in general, daily support receipt has been associated with negative effects on daily negative mood, unless the support acts are "invisible," i.e. provided by partner but unnoticed by recipient. In this chapter, the timing of these effects is examined using structured daily diary reports of recent law school graduates (N = 312) and their intimate partners during a 5-week preparation period before the graduates sat for the state bar examination. Examinees reported mood at waking and in the evening. Using multilevel models, the authors checked if support receipt (reported by examinee) and provision (reported by partner) on one day were related to examinee's mood on the same evening, the next morning, and the next evening. The authors failed to replicate the invisible support pattern, instead finding that provider reports of emotional support were associated with increased negative mood for all time lags. Daily emotional support receipt was positively associated with vigor in the evening on both same and next days.