Social support is in its essence a dyadic exchange process – it has important benefits for those who receive and those who provide support. In the present paper, we develop a model integrating insights from mattering and social exchange theories. We propose that self-determined support behaviors satisfy the provider’s feelings of mattering, which have a spillover effect on positive emotions at home. In addition, we hypothesize that positive emotions of the support receiver (co-worker) strengthen this indirect relationship. Hypotheses were tested in a sample of 67 dyads of co-workers (N = 280–305 data points). Results show that autonomous support behaviors positively relate to the provider’s positive emotions during the evening via mattering. Furthermore, employees felt that they mattered more and experienced more positive emotions when they supported co-workers with high (vs. low) positive emotions. These findings advance social support, mattering and spillover literatures by showing that brief episodes of helping behavior can satisfy mattering needs at work and help employees experience more positive emotions at home.
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