Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Support Groups and Health
Support groups consist of small groups of individuals who meet, usually on a regular basis, to discuss mutual problems. The most common reason for participation in a support group is for help in coping with a physical illness. Over the past two decades, the availability of support groups has grown exponentially. Support groups have been found to have both mental and physical health benefits. Increasingly, support groups are being viewed as an important adjunct to the care of the medically ill and their loved ones. A support group usually consists of individuals who have the same type of illness (or have some other stressor in common, such as bereavement) or it might consist of the family members, close friends, or caregivers of these individuals. A support group provides a setting where individuals can share their experiences with others who are coping with the same stressor. Support groups vary in size, ...