Social Support: Theory, Research, and Intervention

Social Support: Theory, Research, and Intervention

Social Support: Theory, Research, and Intervention

Social Support: Theory, Research, and Intervention


Conceptualizing Social Support Measurement of Social Support Social Support as a Transactional Process within an Ecological Context General Models of Social Support Effects on Well-Being Specific Models of Social Support Social Epidemiology and Support Support Through the Life-Cycle Social Support Interventions: Issues and Problems Social Support Interventions: Prospects Illustrative Support Interventions Social Support: Achievements and Agenda


In the past decade, social support has become an immensely popular area of research. The topic is fascinating. At a personal level, it engages some of our most intimate experiences regarding love, friendship, and belonging. To the social scientist, it represents a focal point around which social ecological models of distress can be developed. To the interventionist, it promises powerful techniques for the amelioration and prevention of psychological problems. Initial excitement over the topic gave rise to a flood of empirical articles. Within the past few years, many writers have turned increasingly to theory, in an effort to make sense of the growing and often puzzling literature. A number of special journal issues and edited books have contributed significantly to our understanding. However, I felt a need for an integrative overview that expressed a consistent perspective on the many complexities and unresolved issues of social support.

This book was written with several types of readers in mind. On the one hand, scholars familiar with social support should find some dissection of their favorite puzzles and, I hope, some novel or provocative views advanced. On the other hand, graduate students and others seeking an overview of social support theory and research should find it here in some depth. The book was not written as a text, but it could serve in graduate-level seminars. For persons developing intervention programs, the final chapters should provide a foundation and structure within which alternative strategies might be explored.

The book was written while I was on sabbatical leave in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Living in an 1820s house in the historic district of that sleepy, friendly town provided excellent working conditions. An hour away, the nation's capital provided not only the Library of Congress but also ample diversion and stimulation for mind and spirit.

I owe thanks to Linda Gannon, Ian Cox, and Hugh Stephenson for helpful comments on various parts of the book. Les Sellers was both . . .

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