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Social Support, Types of

  • By: Amanda Holmstrom
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Scholars and researchers have offered many definitions of social support. Broadly speaking, social support is considered from either a structural or a functional perspective. Structural approaches to support typically involve characterizing individuals' social networks in terms of features such as size or diversity, with bigger, more diverse networks indicative of greater levels of support. Functional approaches to support focus on the supportive behaviors that people either receive from others or perceive as available if needed. A large body of literature connects social support to various indices of health and well-being. As such, scholars have spent much time and effort delineating the various functions of social support, because each form of support may have different effects on health and may affect health via different mechanisms.

Forms of ...

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