Article

Quality of Life Research

, Volume 12, Supplement 1, pp 25-31

First online:

Social support and quality of life

  • Vicki S. HelgesonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University

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Abstract

Social support is a broad term, which includes the supportive ways that different people behave in the social environment. Structural measures of the environment deal with the mere existence of social relationships. Functional measures refer to the resources that people within an individual's social network provide. Structural support shows a linear relation to quality of life; the functional aspects of support demonstrate the stress-buffering hypothesis. One of the main focuses of this article is to help researchers determine what aspects of social relationships or what types of support need to be measured and to consider the mechanisms by which support might influence quality of life. Also addressed is how to translate the correlational research on social support and quality of life into the field of support interventions, taking into account individual and situational differences.