neuroendocrine hormones or immune system parameters that have been linked to disease endpoints. Support effects for health of specific populations, such as children, have received only minimal attention in current research. Disease conditions where social support has important effects for both patients and caregivers, such as stroke (Tompkins et al., 1988) and Alzheimer's disease (Kiecolt-Glaser et al., 1991), have barely been considered in the present chapter, and represent areas where good research will continue to be informative. The effects of support for extreme stressors such as warfare have been little studied (see, e.g., Solomon, Mikulincer, & Hobfoll, 1987) and represent an area where social support effects could be even more significant than has been found for the kinds of stressors that have been studied in previous research. Intervention studies to enhance social support for persons with physical illness appear to have promise at this time, and further efforts in this area are greatly needed. Findings from support intervention research may be applied to helping persons who have been victimized through child abuse or crime (cf. Pynoos, Sorenson, & Steinberg, 1993), and similar efforts may have value for helping persons deal with stressors of international migration (Shuval, 1993) or natural disasters (Weisath, 1993), which are areas likely to be of increasing importance in the current world.
Preparation of this chapter was supported by a Research Scientist Development Award K02-DA00252 ROI-DA08880 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
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