Although there has been a substantial effort to establish the beneficial effects of social support on health and well-being, relatively little work has focused on how social support influences physical health. This article outlines possible mechanisms through which support systems may influence the etiology of physical disease. I begin by reviewing research on the relations between social support and morbidity and between social support and mortality. I distinguish between various conceptualizations of social support used in the existing literature and provide alternative explanations of how each of these conceptualizations of the social environment could influence the etiology of physical disease. In each case, I address the psychological mediators (e.g., health relevant cognitions, affect, and health behaviors) as well as biologic links (e.g., neuroendocrine links to immune and cardiovascular function). I conclude by proposing conceptual and methodological guidelines for future research in this area, highlighting the unique contributions psychologists can make to this inherently interdisciplinary endeavor.
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"Informational support is the delivery of appropriate knowledge specific to the patient's current condition. Instrumental support is aiding the patient with activities of daily living when needed (Meyerowitz 1980, Linn et al. 1993, Cohen 1998). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increasingly there is a focus on self-care strategies for both malignant and non-malignant conditions. Models of self-care interventions have focussed on the individual and less on the broader context of family and society. In many societies, decision-making and health seeking behaviours, involve family members. To identify elements of effective family-centred self-care interventions that are likely to improve outcomes of adults living with chronic conditions. Review paper. MEDLINE (Ovid), CINAHL, Academic Search Complete, PsychInfo and Scopus between 2000–2014. Quantitative studies targeting patient outcomes through family-centred interventions in adults were retrieved using systematic methods in January, 2015. Search terms used were: ‘family’, ‘spouse’, ‘carer’, ‘caregiver’, ‘chronic’, ‘chronic disease’, ‘self-care’, ‘self-management’ and ‘self-efficacy’. Reference lists were reviewed. Risk of bias assessment was performed using the Cochrane Collaboration's tool. Data were reported using a narrative summary approach. Ten studies were identified. Improvements were noted in readmission rates, emergency department presentations, and anxiety levels using family-centred interventions compared with controls. Elements of effective interventions used were a family-centred approach, active learning strategy and transitional care with appropriate follow-up. Involving the family in self-care has shown some positive results for patients with chronic conditions. The benefits of family-centred care may be more likely in specific socio-cultural contexts. The review has year limits and further research needs to identify support for both the patients and family caregivers.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of Advanced Nursing
"Indeed, a large body of evidence has linked highly supportive relationships with physical health (e.g., see Deci and Ryan 2008; Ng et al. 2012; Ryan et al. 2008). Although extant research also suggests that close relationships affect physical health (e.g., Berkman 1995; Cohen 1988; Robles et al. 2014; Uchino et al. 1996), the specific pathways through which relationships might influence health outcomes remain underexplored (e.g., Uchino 2009). "
"Research on the benefits of social support has not yielded systematically positive results. However, three conditions have been shown to improve the overall effectiveness of support transactions: (a) support must be empathetic (Thoits, 1986), (b) support must be fitting to the stressor (Cohen, 1988), and (c) support must not be perceived as burdensome to the support provider (Bolger, Zuckerman, & Kessier, 2000). Social support provides a useful mechanism for understanding the ways in which increased social integration can affect both mental and physical health. "