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Lecture 17

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PSYC 3690
Benjamin Gottlieb

March 26, 2013 Community Mental Health Lecture 17 Those that you are closest to in your social network are usually the ones that you turn to first when you need help with a problem People have ways of getting and giving support that makes it low profile and people don’t acknowledge that support is given  Example: study of how high school teachers get help with problems related to students or the curriculum  He would sit in the teacher’s lounge and observed them  Found that when teachers had a problem, they would tell a story about what happened  The other teacher they would talk to would respond that they went through the same experience and told their story and what they tried doing to solve the problem; helping interaction arising spontaneously and naturally in the context of experience swapping  Support groups do the same sort of thing; a lot of the time is devoted to experience swapping, sharing their experiences  Self-help groups make it so that no one individual is always the person receiving help; every one gets and gives help, changes at different times  Creates equality when it comes to experience among individuals  Exchanging their experiential knowledge as opposed to getting expert knowledge from doctors, psychologists, etc.  The leader of support groups is usually a professional that will spend some time giving professional information  The groups have dual content: expert knowledge and experiential knowledge; gain from both  An expert can’t normalize your situation like other people going through the same thing does just by their presence; makes them feel like they’re not alone in their experience  We need a sense of belonging and reliable alliance with others  Social support is of value because it’s a stress buffer that can be manipulated  People are part of our environment and therefore we have the potential to do something with people relative to the possibility of doing something with traits o We know that some traits are stress buffers, but you can’t manipulate them; relatively stable o You can try to do something about people’s personal social networks What makes social support an important and valued resource? (same as info from applied social lecture by him)  Social comparison o Schachter studies  Person goes to a lab and is told that they will be involved in a study where they are given different levels of shocks to see how they react; told that it won’t do any permanent damage  Then told that there’s a problem with the machines, so they have to wait for it to be fixed  Given the option of waiting in a room with other participants or by themselves in a cubicle  Most of them chose to wait with the other participants  Possibilities for this:  Want to see how they react  Want to come up with a plan for leaving and not doing the study  Think that you might be more distracted from the study when you’re with other people; don’t think about the pain of the shocks  In another study, he changed the conditions slightly  Told that they could wait alone or with other participants but they couldn’t talk  Still wanted to wait with other people  Shows that talking with other people wasn’t the reason for wanting to be with people  Another study had the conditions of waiting alone, waiting with other participants, or waiting with students waiting to see their faculty advisor  Still wanted to be with the participants; misery loves company, want to be with people going through the same situation o Determined that when we’re threatened and experience high amounts of stress, we have the desire to affiliate with others who we perceive as similar to us; appropriate targets of comparison o Shown in self-help groups and support groups; meets the desire to compare ourselves to others o People use social comparison to get feedback about the appropriateness of their feelings, thoughts, and behaviour  Epidemiology o Studies  Take a representative sample of adults in the population  Measure their lifestyle health behaviours (smoking, nutrition, exercise), their health status, and their public and private social ties  Social ties – marital status, participation in voluntary organizations, and the number of family and close friends that they have regular contact with o Creates a social network index  Get all this information and follow them for 10 years  Look at the rate of mortality and m
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