Race and Social Problems

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 53–62 | Cite as

Church-Based Exchanges of Informal Social Support Among African Americans

  • Robert Joseph Taylor
  • Linda M. Chatters
  • Karen D. Lincoln
  • Amanda Toler Woodward


This study examines the correlates of the types of instrumental support exchanges that occur between church members among African Americans. Exchanges of four types of instrumental support are examined: transportation assistance, help with chores, financial assistance and help during illness. Data for this study are from the National Survey of American Life Re-Interview, the follow-up survey to the National Survey of American Life which is a nationally representative sample of the African American population. We found that African Americans were more likely to both give and receive support in situations involving illness, followed by transportation, financial assistance and help with chores. For each of the four types of instrumental support, respondents indicate that they provide more assistance to others than they receive. For all eight dependent variables, those with lower levels of education were more actively engaged in receiving and providing support than their higher educated counterparts. Higher levels of religious service attendance were associated with higher levels of support, which underscores the importance of involvement in faith communities for assistance. Overall, our findings confirm the importance of church-based informal social support between African Americans and documents within group diversity as both recipients and providers of assistance.


Informal social support Black church Religion Social network Support network 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.School of Public Health and Social WorkUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social WorkUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.School of Social WorkMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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