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Social support: a conceptual analysis

Social support: a conceptual analysis Using the methodology of Walker and Avant, the purpose of this paper was to identify the most frequently used theoretical and operational definitions of social support. A positive relationship between social support and health is generally accepted in the literature. However, the set of dimensions used to define social support is inconsistent. In addition, few measurement tools have established reliability and validity. Findings from this conceptual analysis suggested four of the most frequently used defining attributes of social support: emotional, instrumental, informational, and appraisal. Social network, social embeddedness, and social climate were identified as antecedents of social support. Social support consequences were subsumed under the general rubric of positive health states. Examples were personal competence, health maintenance behaviours, perceived control, sense of stability, recognition of self‐worth, positive affect, psychological well‐being, and decreased anxiety and depression. Recommendations for future research were made. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Advanced Nursing Wiley

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1997 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0309-2402
eISSN
1365-2648
DOI
10.1046/j.1365-2648.1997.1997025095.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Using the methodology of Walker and Avant, the purpose of this paper was to identify the most frequently used theoretical and operational definitions of social support. A positive relationship between social support and health is generally accepted in the literature. However, the set of dimensions used to define social support is inconsistent. In addition, few measurement tools have established reliability and validity. Findings from this conceptual analysis suggested four of the most frequently used defining attributes of social support: emotional, instrumental, informational, and appraisal. Social network, social embeddedness, and social climate were identified as antecedents of social support. Social support consequences were subsumed under the general rubric of positive health states. Examples were personal competence, health maintenance behaviours, perceived control, sense of stability, recognition of self‐worth, positive affect, psychological well‐being, and decreased anxiety and depression. Recommendations for future research were made.

Journal

Journal of Advanced NursingWiley

Published: Jan 1, 1997

References