Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 437–452 | Cite as

Effects of social support on self-assessed health in adolescence

  • Runar Vilhjalmsson


Based on a national survey of Icelandic adolescents, this study evaluates the effects of social support on self-assessed health. The study compares four support sources, and distinguishes between direct effects and indirect effects through (1) health-related behaviors and (2) different aspects of mental health. The study indicates that parental support has the largest total effect on self-assessed health, followed by friend support, and other adult support. (Sibling support is unrelated.) The total effect of parents is due to their pervasive indirect impact, i.e., supportive parents encourage positive health behaviors and enhance mental health, which results in favorable assessment of own health. In contrast, friends and other adults affect self-assessed health in a more specific, and sometimes negative manner. Also, friends are the only support source having direct effect on self-assessed health. The implication of these results are discussed.


Mental Health Social Support Indirect Effect Health Behavior National Survey 
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.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Runar Vilhjalmsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NursingUniversity of IcelandReykjavikIceland

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