The Complexities of Help-Seeking: Exploring Challenges Through a Social Network Perspective

  • Normand Carpentier
  • Paul Bernard
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


Over the past 40 years, scholars have developed a series of models designed to explain and predict the use of healthcare services. The models of the 1960s and 1970s generated copious research in the health departments of numerous universities, partly because of the fact that their standard, variable-centred methodology made it easy for researchers to create questionnaires patterned on the theoretical models. In later years, however, recognition of the growing complexity of modern society caused theorists to propose new models that took a greater number of social phenomena, especially help-seeking behaviour, into account and called for the application of not one but several methodologies. While these new complex models differ from each other on many points, they all attempt to address the following four dimensions: social structure, multilevel effects, culture, and temporality. In this chapter, we discuss these dimensions from the vantage point of social networks. Our approach analyzes the dimension of social structure through network terminology (network structure) and explores multilevel effects through the linkage processes between formal and informal networks (organizational networks). We interpret the notion of culture through the lens of social representations (network content) and we use sequential narrative analysis (network dynamics) to understand the dimension of temporality.


Chronic Illness Social Representation Network Approach Network Member Social Model 
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.



This research was supported by Le Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Québec (FRSQ, reference no.8308). We would like to extend our gratitude to Jennifer Petrela for her editorial assistance and support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CSSS de Bordeaux-Cartierville-Saint-LaurentMontréalCanada

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