Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Susaye S. Rattigan & Lisa C. Walt & Kristen H. Walter & Stevan E. Hobfoll
Social support has been one of the most widely examined constructs in social science research since the 1970s, although the concept originated over a century ago. Social support is defined as those social interactions or relationships that provide individuals with actual assistance or that embed individuals within a social system believed to provide love, caring, or a sense of attachment to a valued social groups or dyad. Social support can provide a conduit to resources beyond those otherwise available to the individual. Studies have illustrated how people's relationships with others affect both psychological and physical health. The vast majority of social support research focuses on the positive aspects of the phenomenon, but the sometimes harmful effects of social support have been examined also. The positive attributes of social support include better mental and physical health outcomes both in times of stress and when stress is not occurring. Social support aids ...