The Structure of Social Support: A Conceptual and Empirical Analysis

Journal of Community Psychology (Impact Factor: 0.99). 05/1983; 11(2):133-43. DOI: 10.1002/1520-6629(198304)11:23.0.CO;2-L
Source: PubMed


The growth of research on social support has led to a comparable proliferation in the ways it is conceptualized and operationalized. The overall purpose of the present paper was to bring some clarity to this concept by critically examining how it has been presented in the literature and by proposing both rationally and empirically derived typologies for organizing social support functions. From a review of prominent discussions of support functions, a rational typology was proposed that included six categories: Material Aid, Behavioral Assistance, Intimate Interaction, Feedback, and Positive Social Interaction. To empirically examine the structure of social support, a factor analysis was conducted on items from a scale of socially supportive behaviors. The four factors that subsequently emerged were labeled Directive Guidance, Non-directive Support, Positive Social Interaction, and Tangible Assistance. Application of these findings to the assessment of support and future research on support/well-being relationships were discussed.

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    • "However, in order to teach social support, health professionals must understand the variations of social support and how social support may manifest in the populations with which they work. The women in our study experienced being cared for by service providers as actions that fall within the established categories of received support included in the ISSB (Barrera and Ainlay, 1983). The ISSB could serve as a guide for creating education programs for persons who work with homeless people including: professional service providers, students likely to become service providers, paraprofessionals, nonprofessionals, and volunteers. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine homeless women's interactions with service providers and the degree to which these interactions are perceived as social support. Design/methodology/approach – Using a phenomenological approach, in-depth semistructured interviews were conducted with 15 homeless women recruited through a drop-in day shelter and a winter emergency shelter. Findings – Analysis revealed being "cared for" was experienced within service provider encounters and is commensurate with widely recognized sub-categories of received social support. Participants expressed expanded definitions of service providers and made clear distinctions between routine support expected from a provider and received social support, or being "cared for" by providers. Research limitations/implications – Studies with homeless persons that exclude service providers as a potential source of social support for homeless women or impose predetermined definitions of service provision may not be capturing the full range of participant encounters, relationships, networks, and experiences. Practical implications – Widely used social support measures could serve as a guide for creating education programs for persons who work with homeless people including: professional service providers, students likely to become service providers, paraprofessionals, nonprofessionals, and volunteers. Originality/value – Homeless women's voices have been added to the debate regarding whether social support is within the realm of service provision.
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    • "This tool allows for the following network properties to be measured: (1) network size (including available and utilized social networks), (2) network composition, (3) support satisfaction, (4) support need, and (5) any sources of network conflict.49 The ASSIS has shown good test–retest reliability for size of the available network with correlations ranging from 0.70 (over 1-month period) to 0.88 (over 2 or more days).49,51 "
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    ABSTRACT: To describe the structure of informal networks for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) living in the community, to understand the quality of relationship of informal networks, and to understand the role of informal networks in the prevention and management of secondary health conditions (SHCs). Mixed-method descriptive study. Ontario, Canada Participants: Community-dwelling adults with an SCI living in Ontario Interventions/methods: The Arizona Social Support Interview Survey was used to measure social networks. Participants were asked the following open-ended questions: (1) What have been your experiences with your health care in the community? (2) What have been your experiences with care related to prevention and/or management of SHCs?, (3)What has been the role of your informal social networks (friends/family) related to SHCs? Fourteen key informant interviews were conducted (6 men, 8 women). The overall median for available informal networks was 11.0 persons (range 3-19). The informal network engaged in the following roles: (1) advice/validating concerns; (2) knowledge brokers; (3) advocacy; (4) preventing SHCs; (5) assisting with finances; and (6) managing SHCs. Participants described their informal networks as a "secondary team"; a critical and essential force in dealing with SHCs. While networks are smaller for persons with SCI compared with the general population, these ties seems to be strong, which is essential when the roles involve a level of trust, certainty, tacit knowledge, and flexibility. These informal networks serve as essential key players in filling the gaps that exist within the formal health care system.
    The journal of spinal cord medicine 09/2012; 35(5):330-42. DOI:10.1179/2045772312Y.0000000035 · 1.33 Impact Factor
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    • "For instance, it was shown that one month after myocardial infarction, women used more maladaptive evasive coping strategies which led to lower quality of life [5]. One of the most powerful forces which helps individuals to cope with ACS successfully has been known as social support which refers to tangible or emotional aids that were given to people [9]. Association of social support with cardiac patient's disabilities was evaluated in many surveys, and revealed that this psychological factor could to some extent predict the survival of cardiac patients [10] [11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Psychological factors have been recently proposed as cardiovascular risk factors. This study was designed to evaluate the association of lifelong coping strategies and social support with progression of chronic stable angina (CSA) to acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Coping strategies and social support of patients based on a stress management questionnaire and Norback social support questionnaire were evaluated in a case-control study. Seventy eight hospitalized patients with ACS and 146 patients with CSA were included as the case and control groups, respectively. Positive angiographic findings were defined as the criteria for CSA. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the aforementioned association. The mean age of 224 participants was 55±10.4 years and 69.6% of them were male. After adjusting for age, sex, and traditional coronary artery disease risk factors, acute life event [odds ratio (OR): 1.09, 1.05-1.13 95%CI], maladaptive coping strategies (OR: 5.81, 1.93-17.49 95%CI), adaptive coping strategies (OR: 0.21, 0.05-0.94 95%CI), total functional support (OR: 0.49, 0.26-0.97 95%CI), and total network support (OR: 0.27, 0.15-0.53 95%CI) were significantly associated with ACS. Improvement in social support and adaptive coping strategies should be considered in patients with chronic ischemic heart disease (IHD) to reduce the risk of ACS.
    Journal of Cardiology 03/2012; 59(2):154-9. DOI:10.1016/j.jjcc.2011.12.001 · 2.78 Impact Factor
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