Social Support, Family Processes, and Health

Authored by: Nina Knoll , Urte Scholz , Beate Ditzen

Handbook of Health Psychology

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138052819
eBook ISBN: 9781315167534
Adobe ISBN:


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Throughout our lives, we rely on others and are relied on in turn. This is especially apparent in times of need, but also in ordinary daily goal pursuit. Among the people with whom we interact supportively, members of our families feature very prominently. Because the extent to which we are embedded in social networks and can rely on their help should we need it are consistent predictors of better health and longevity, it is not surprising that of the many forms of social exchange expected of or practiced with others, social support is the most frequently studied. This chapter (1) gives a brief conceptual overview over social support and related constructs; (2) reviews theories and evidence on how different forms of social support may be associated with distal health outcomes and does so with a special emphasis on the roles of specific sources of support; (3) provides a brief overview of social support interventions in the fields of coping with stress and disease; and (4) closes with a conclusion and outlook.

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