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Social Support and Health Benefits: Tips and Research

Page history last edited by Lexy Harkins 7 years, 6 months ago


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What is Social Support?




What is social support?


Social support is formed by connections between people that can help a person in difficult times and improve quality of life overall (3).  Social connections can provide material things, like financial support, physical help, or information (2). Social connections can also provide emotional support and a sense of belonging (5).


People need social support at every stage of life.  Sometimes as people age, their social support decreases.  This can happen as a result of retirement, friends or spouses passing away, or difficulty getting out of the house.  It is important for older adults to maintain social supports as they age in order to stay healthy (3)



The effects of social support on health


 Social support affects physical and mental health in positive ways.  Older adults who feel supported report fewer “sick days” and fewer days feeling sad or depressed (3).  Social support helps to maintain health especially during stressful times (1, 2).  Several studies have found that people who have social support are more likely to live longer (7).




What is a Social Support Network?


A support network is a group of people you talk to or see regularly who you can turn to for help when you need it. People in your support network might be family, friends, or neighbors. The people in your support network can provide emotional support that promotes better health.  The larger your support network, the healthier you are likelier to be (8).








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