social support

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Definition - What does social support mean?

Social support refers to the relationships a person has and can turn too when they need help. This could include advice, help, companionship or a number of other types of assistance. These types of support can be in the form of specific individuals, small groups, or even larger community networks. Social support is found within a person's social network and provides a sense of well-being to an individual. Social support may also be referred as a Social Network or Support System.

SureHire explains social support

Social support can take many forms. It allows an individual to rely on their personal relationships to enhance aspects of their life or cope with stressful situations when they arise. Social support is found in an individual's social network. People such as friends, family, coworkers, and community groups are all included. An individual's perceived social support and the reliability of these relationships have a great impact on health behaviors.

There are four major forms of social support. Emotional, instrumental, informational and appraisal. Emotional support can be thought as sharing life experiences, comforting, demonstrating love, empathy, trust, and concern. Instrumental support is tangible help to the individual and may include monetary aid, driving a person to appointments, babysitting, food donations, and other physical assistance. Informational support includes giving advice or suggestions that may help the individual make a decision or address a problem. Appraisal support assists an individual in looking at a situation in a positive manner, such as by reminding the individual of all of the assets (emotional and phsyical) that will let them deal with the situation.

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