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COM 225 (34)

Social Support.docx

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Course Code
COM 225
Bonnie Mc Cracken

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Social Support Monday, March 10, 2014 9:03 AM What is social support? •Social Support- the ways in which individual well-being and coping with stressors are enhanced by: o Involvement in social networks o Perceived availability of help and acceptance by others o Exchange of support in interactions between people Theoretical Traditions • 3 major traditions in social support research: o Sociological Tradition • Relationship between social ties and psychological well-being  Durkheim  Work in this tradition linked social network/relations to outcomes such as suicide, social disorganization, mental health, and behavioral problems • Social integration- how integrated one is within his or her network  Social network participation is measured by diversity of relationships one participated in • Involvement in a range of social activities or diverse range of social relationships is more important to health outcomes than number of people in one's network o Cognitive (Psychological) Tradition • Cohen & Wills  Stress-buffering found when perceived availability of social support matched the needs of the stressful event  The data suggest that the perception of available support is more important to health and adjustment than the actual receipt of support o Interpersonal Process (Communicative) Tradition • Research on the dynamics involved in the expression and receipt of support  Message construction  What messages are effective/not effective in providing support  What messages facilitates coping mechanisms • 3 Primary categories of interpersonal support:  Emotional- help manage emotions  Informational- information that affects coping  Instrumental- tangible aid How Social Support Influences Health •Studies have shown social support has many positive effects on health and well-being, including: o Reduced risk of death due to heart attack or other circulatory diseases • Men who never married, or live alone, had a higher risk of heart disease o Reduced risk of cancers o Faster recovery o Fewer complications during pregnancy o Keeping patients in medical treatment and increasing compliance with prescribed medications o Facilitates coping and adaptation to change o Reduced anxiety levels o Overall, increased life satisfaction Psychological outcomes of support •Sense of belonging- spending time with people helps ward of loneliness o Just knowing you're not alone can go a long way toward coping with stress •Increased sense of self-worth- having people who call you a friend reinforces the idea that you're a good person to be around • Feeling of security- it's comforting to know that you have people you can turn to in a time of need How does social support influence well-being? •2 models: o Buffering hypothesis • Social support serves as a protective layer, creating psychological
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