Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 27–44 | Cite as

Task force report: Social networks as mediators of social support

An analysis of the effects and determinants of social networks
  • Roger E. Mitchell
  • Edison J. Trickett


The intent of this paper is to present a representative, though not exhaustive, overview of the current literature on social networks, with an emphasis on research linking social networks to psychological adaptation. This overview includes a review of social network concepts; and analysis of the multiple determinants of social networks; an analysis of the varied effects of social networks; and the implications for policies and practices of community mental health centers. This paper adopts the view that the concept of social network is a useful tool in examining both the functional and the dysfunctional influences of one's primary group on individual adaption.


Public Health Mental Health Social Support Social Network Health Center 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Avery, A. Communication skills training for paraprofessional helpers.American Journal of Community Psychology, 1978,6, 583–591.Google Scholar
  2. Barnes, J. A. Class and communities in a Norwegian Island parish.Human Relations, 1954,7, 39–58.Google Scholar
  3. Berman, N., & Hoppe, E. Halfway house residents: Where do they go?Journal of Community Psychology, 1976,4, 259–260.Google Scholar
  4. Bott, E.Family and social network: Norms and external relationships in ordinary urban families (rev. ed.). London: Tavistock Publishing, 1971.Google Scholar
  5. Brim, J. A. Social network correlates of avowed happiness.Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, 1974,158, 432–439.Google Scholar
  6. Caplan, G.Support systems and community mental health. New York: Behavioral Publications, 1974.Google Scholar
  7. Carson, R. I.Interaction concepts of personality. Chicago: Aldine-Atherton, 1969.Google Scholar
  8. Cassel, J. Psychosocial processes and “stress”: Theoretical formulation.International Journal of Health Services, 1974,4, 471–482.Google Scholar
  9. Cobb, S. Social support as a moderator of life stress.Psychosomatic Medicine, 1976,38, 300–314.Google Scholar
  10. Cohen, C. I., & Sokolovsky, J. Schizophrenia and social networks: Expatients in the inner city.Schizophrenia Bulletin, 1978,4, 546–560.Google Scholar
  11. Craven, P., & Wellman, B. The network city.Sociological Inquiry. 1973,43, 57–88.Google Scholar
  12. Croog, S. H., Lipson, A., & Levine, S. Help patterns in severe illness: The roles of kin network, nonfamily resources, and institutions.Journal of Marriage and the Family, Feb. 1972, 32–41.Google Scholar
  13. D'Augelli, A. R., & Levy, M. The verbal helping skills of trained and untrained human service paraprofessionals.American Journal of Community Psychology, 1978,6, 23–31.Google Scholar
  14. Erickson, G. The concept of personal network in clinical practice.Family Process, 1975,14, 487–498.Google Scholar
  15. Froland, C., Brodsky, G., Olson, M., & Stewart, L. Social support and social adjustment: Implications for mental health professionals.Community Mental Health Journal, 1979,15, 82–93.Google Scholar
  16. Glynn, T. J.Community psychology and the psychological sense of community: Measurement and application. Paper presented at the 86th Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada, 1978.Google Scholar
  17. Gourash, N. Help-seeking: A review of the literature.American Journal of Community Psychology, 1978,6, 499–517.Google Scholar
  18. Granovetter, M. S. The strength of weak ties.American Journal of Sociology, 1973,78, 13–60.Google Scholar
  19. Hammer, M. Influence of small social networks as factors on mental hospital admission.Human Organization, 1963–1964,22, 243–251.Google Scholar
  20. Hammer, M., Makiesby-Barrow, S., & Gutworthy, L. Social networks and schizophrenia.Schizophrenia Bulletin, 1978,4, 522–545.Google Scholar
  21. Heller, W., Amaral, T., & Procidano, M.The experimental study of social support: An approach to understanding the indigenous helper. Paper presented at the 86th Meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada, 1978.Google Scholar
  22. Henderson, A. S.Interview schedule for social interaction. Canbera, Australia: National Health and Medical Research Council, Social Psychiatry Research Unit, The Australian University, 1978.Google Scholar
  23. Henderson, S., Duncan-Jones, P., McAuley, H., & Ritchie, K. The patient's primary group.British Journal of Psychiatry, 1978,132, 74–86.Google Scholar
  24. Hirsch, B.Natural support systems and coping with major life changes. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Psychological Association, San Francisco, April, 1978.Google Scholar
  25. Hirsch, B. Psychological dimensions of social networks: A multimethod analysis.American Journal of Community Psychology, 1979,7, 263–277.Google Scholar
  26. Holohan, C. J., Betak, J. F., Spearly, J. L., & Chance, B.Social support, race, and mental health. An interactional field study. Paper presented at the 87th Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, New York, September, 1979.Google Scholar
  27. Holohan, C. J., & Wilcox, B. L. Residential satisfaction and friendship formation in high and low rise student housing: An international analysis.Journal of Educational Psychology, 1978,70, 237–241.Google Scholar
  28. Holohan, C. J., Wilcox, B. L., Burnam, M. A., & Cutter, R. E. Social satisfaction and friendship formation as a function of floor level in high-rise studient housing.Journal of Applied Psychology, 1978,63, 527–529.Google Scholar
  29. Horwitz, A. Social networks and pathways to psychiatric treatment.Social Forces, 1977,56, 86–105.Google Scholar
  30. Iscoe, I. Community psychology and the competent community.American Psychologist, 1974,29, 606–613.Google Scholar
  31. Kasarda, J. D., & Janowitz, M. Community attachment in mass society.American Sociological Review, 1974,39, 328.Google Scholar
  32. Kelly, J. G.The ecology of social support systems: Footnotes to a theory. Paper presented at the symposiumToward an understanding of natural support systems at the 85th Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, California, 1977.Google Scholar
  33. Killilea, M. Mutual help organizations; Interpretations in the literature. In G. Caplan & M. Killilea (Eds.),Support systems and mutual help. New York: Grune & Stratton, 1976.Google Scholar
  34. Leary, T.Interpersonal diagnosis of personality. New York: Ronald Press, 1957.Google Scholar
  35. Leiberman, M. A., & Mullan, J. T. Does help help? The adaptive consequences of obtaining help from professionals and social networks.American Journal of Community Psychology, 1978,6, 499–517.Google Scholar
  36. Leutz, W. The informal community caregiver: A link between the health care system and local residents.American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1976,46, 678–688.Google Scholar
  37. Llamas, R.An exploratory and comparative study of the psychosocial networks of a group of normals and a group of personality disorders. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, U.S. International University, 1976.Google Scholar
  38. McKinlay, J. B. Social networks, lay consultation and help-seeking behavior.Social Forces, 1973,51, 275–292.Google Scholar
  39. Mitchell, J. C. (Ed.).Social networks in urban situations. Manchester, England; Manchester University Press, 1969.Google Scholar
  40. Mitchell, R. E.Coping style, psychosocial climate, and system linkages as correlates of social networks. Unpublished manuscript, University of Maryland, College Park, Md., 1979.Google Scholar
  41. Mitchell, R. E., Barbarin, O., & Hurley, D. J., Jr.The effects of community member's role and racial composition of community upon satisfaction, problem solving, and resource utilizaton. Unpublished manuscript, University of Maryland, College Park, Md., 1979.Google Scholar
  42. O'Connor, P., Vogel, N., Gordan, L., Felton, B., & Lehmann, S.SRO hotels: Social support for the socially disabled? Presented at the 85th Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, August, 1977.Google Scholar
  43. Pancoast, D. L.A method of assisting natural helping networks. Paper presented at the 86th Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada, September, 1978.Google Scholar
  44. Pattison, E. M., DeFrancisco, D., Wood, P., & Crowder, J. A psychosocial kinship model for family therapy.American Journal of Psychiatry, 1975,132, 1246–1251.Google Scholar
  45. Pearlin, L. I., & Schooler, C. The structure of coping.Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 1978,19, 2–21.Google Scholar
  46. Polansky, N., Chalmers, M., Buttenweiser, E., & Williams, D. P. Isolation of the neglectful family.American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1979,49, 149–152.Google Scholar
  47. Rappaport, J.Community psychology: Values research, and action. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1977.Google Scholar
  48. Sarason, S.The psychological sense of community: Prospects for a community psychology. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1974.Google Scholar
  49. Schag, D., Loo, C. & Leven, M. The group assessment of interpersonal traits (GAIT): Differentiation of measures and their relation to behavioral response modes. American Journal of Community Psychology, 1978,6(1).Google Scholar
  50. Shulman, N. Life-cycle variations in patterns of close relationships.Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1975,37, 813–821.Google Scholar
  51. Shulman, N. Network analysis: A new addition to an old bag of tricks.Acta Sociologica, 1976,19, 307–323.Google Scholar
  52. Sokolovsky, J., Cohen, C., Berger, D., & Geiger, J. Personal networks of ex-mental patients in a Manhattan SRO hotel.Human Organization, 1978,37, 5–15.Google Scholar
  53. Speck, R. & Rueveni, U. Network therapy—A developing concept.Family Process, 1969,8, 182–191.Google Scholar
  54. Stein, L., & Test, M. A. Retraining hospital staff for work in a community program in Wisconsin.Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 1976, 266–268.Google Scholar
  55. Sullivan. H. S.The interpersonal theory of psychiatry. New York: Norton, 1953.Google Scholar
  56. Tolsdorf, C. C. Social networks, support, and coping: An exploratory study.Family Process, 1976,15, 407–417.Google Scholar
  57. Tolsdorf, C.The multiproblem family: Stress, support, and coping in the social network. Paper presented at the 86th Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada, August, 1978.Google Scholar
  58. Turner, J. C., & TenHoor, W. J. The NIMH community support program: Pilot approach to a needed social reform.Schizophrenia Bulletin, 1978,4, 319–344.Google Scholar
  59. United Etates President's Commission on Mental Health.Report to the President. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1978.Google Scholar
  60. Walker, K. N., MacBride, A., & Vachon, M. L. S. Social support networks and the crisis of bereavement.Social Science and Medicine. 1977,11, 35–42.Google Scholar
  61. Weiss, R. S. The provisions of social relationships. In Z. Rubin (Ed.),Doing unto others. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1974.Google Scholar
  62. Wellman, B.The community question: The intimate networks of East Yorkers. Unpublished manuscript, Center for Urban and Community studies, and the Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Cenada, April, 1978.Google Scholar
  63. Wilcox, B. L., & Holohan, C. J. Social ecology of the megadorm in university student housing.Journal of Educational Psychology, 1978,68, 453–458.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger E. Mitchell
    • 1
  • Edison J. Trickett
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of PsychologyUniversity of Maryland, College Park

Personalised recommendations