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Social Support, p. 1 Social Support

Ralf Schwarzer*, Nina Knoll & Nina Rieckmann

*Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin , Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York To appear in A. Kaptein & J. Weinman (Eds. (2003).
Introduction to health


. Oxford, England Blackwell

The chapter deals with social factors and how they might exert an influence on health and longevity. First, a distinction is made between the concepts of social integration and social support. Following this, a more fine-grained differentiation of various social support phenomena is offered, and different approaches to their measurement are described. Moreover, individual differences in support provision and receipt are addressed. Ina second section, the importance of social network characteristics along with their possible influence on longevity is discussed. Studies are described that provide evidence for the association of social factors with life expectancy, severe medical conditions, and bereavement. A third section examines the role of social factors in the onset and course of severe health conditions, such as myocardial infarction and cancer. Additionally, evidence is reviewed concerning support mobilization as a form of coping with taxing life events and circumstances. Key Concepts social integration, social networks, and social ties social support perceived versus received social support instrumental, informational, tangible, and emotional support support mobilization longevity survival measures of social network measures of social support stress daily hassles versus critical life events bereavement and loss gender differences onset and course of chronic illness Social Support

Social Support, p. 2

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