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Article 28 -Support Interventions.doc

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PSYC 3690
Benjamin Gottlieb

1 Article 28: Title of Article: Support Interventions: A Typology and Agenda for Research (Gottlieb) -Chapter presents definition and typology of social support interventions (individual, dyadic, group, social system and community level) -Informal social support is a critical moderator of stress and is marshaled to improve coping -For the most part it reflects natural activities of people trying to secure the resources they need to deal w/ difficult life situations -Observations of people giving and receiving social support in natural environments can guide professional interventions (e.g. teachers swapping stories in lunch rooms) Reasons Support Interventions have a special appeal to practitioners and beneficiaries 1. Dispositional characteristics implicated in the coping process are more difficult to change than the environmental resources for resisting stress 2. Social interventions can have greater ecological and preventative value than person-centered interventions –creation of a more responsive and durable personal community have long term benefits 3. Person-centered interventions that conflict w/ the values and norms of a client’s social network can be neutralized or discredited by its members 4. Support interventions can improve the help-seeking behavior and supports utilized by underserved populations 5. Support interventions embrace widely help norms favouring self-reliance, collective action and the more recent ideology of empowerment Typology Individual Level -Aim to optimize psychosocial resources people offer an receive by equipping them with w/ knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes -Could include encouraging a positive orientation toward social support and the use of coping strategies that invite support among recipients, and teaching providers how to manage their own emotions while offering social support Dyadic Level -Aims to mobilize the support of a person in the existing social network or a new social tie (e.g. fellow sufferer) -With existing person, need to look who can provide the most appropriate level and types of support -Harder w/ a new person b/c they need to matched to optimize the likelihood of maintaining a supportive alliance -Goal is to improve the quality of support provided -Most effective w/ a close friend or family member -Direct (behaviour and skills training) or indirect/diffuse (e.g. Big Sisters) -Having one intimate/confiding relationship is vital to health protection -Loss of close relationship (e.g. death, divorce) predisposes morbidity 2 -Attachment providing relationships protect and promote health and morale Group Level -Focus on optimizing support offered by the beneficiary’s social existing social network or mobilizing support from a new set of social ties (e.g. self-help or professionally led support groups) -New social group works best; characteristics of the group as a whole (inc. composition, leadership, structure, norms and frequency/duration of meeting times) determine supportive processes -Morophological variables inc. network size, density and clustering -Interactional variables inc. intimacy, duration and dimensionality -The flow of social support resources (tangible aid, emotional, appraisal and esteem supp
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