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Social Support

  • By: Jennifer M. Knack, Amy M. Waldrip & Lauri A. Jensen-Campbell
  • In: Encyclopedia of Social Psychology
  • Edited by: Roy F. Baumeister & Kathleen D. Vohs
  • Subject:Social Psychology (general)
Definition

In general, social support refers to the various ways in which individuals aid others. Social support has been documented as playing an important and positive role in the health and well-being of individuals. To receive support from another, one must participate in at least one important relationship. However, social support has often been summarized as a network of individuals on whom one can rely for psychological or material support to cope effectively with stress. Social support is theorized to be offered in the form of instrumental support (i.e., material aid), appraisal/informational support (i.e., advice, guidance, feedback), or emotional support (i.e., reassurance of worth, empathy, affection).

Perceived and Conditional Social Support

Perceived social support is support that an individual believes to be available, regardless of whether the support ...

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