Advertisement

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

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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.

Notes

Acknowledgements

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.

References

  1. Abbott A (1992) From causes to events: notes on narrative positivism. Sociol Methods Res 20:428–455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abell P (1987) The syntax of social life: the theory and method of comparative narratives. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  3. Abric J-C (1994) Les représentations sociales: Aspects théoriques. In: Abric J-C (ed) Pratiques Sociales et Représentations. PUF, Paris, pp 11–36Google Scholar
  4. Allen D, Griffiths L, Lyne P (2004) Understanding complex trajectories in health and social care provision. Sociol Health Illn 26:1008–1030CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berkman LF, Glass T (2000) Social integration, social networks, social support, and health. In: Berkman LF, Kawachi I (eds) Social epidemiology. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 137–173Google Scholar
  6. Bernard P (1993) Cause perdue? Le pouvoir heuristique de l’analyse causale. Sociol Soc XXV:171–189Google Scholar
  7. Bond J, Corner L (2001) Researching dementia: are there unique methodological challenges for health services research. Aging Soc 21:95–116Google Scholar
  8. Borgatti SP, Molina J-L (2005) Toward ethical guidelines for network research in organizations. Soc Networks 27:107–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brint S (1992) Hidden meanings: cultural content and context in harrison white’s structural sociology. Sociol Theory 10:194–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carpentier N, Ducharme F (2005) Support network transformations in the first stages of the Caregiver’s career. Qual Health Res 15(3):289–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carpentier N, Ducharme F (2007) Social network data validity: the example of the social network of caregivers of older persons with Alzheimer-type dementia. Can J Aging 26(suppl 1):103–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Carpentier N, Ducharme F, Kergoat M-J, Bergman H (2008a) Barriers to care and social representations early in the career of caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease. Res Aging 30:334–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carpentier N, Pomey MP, Contreras R, Olazabal I (2008b) Social care interface in early-stage dementia: practitioners’ perspectives on the links between formal and informal networks. J Aging Health 20(6):710–738CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carpentier N, Bernard P, Grenier A, Guberman N (2010) Using the life course perspective to study the entry into the illness trajectory: the perspective of caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Soc Sci Med 70:1501–1508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chiu LF, West RM (2007) Health intervention in social context: understanding social networks and neighbourhood. Soc Sci Med 65:1915–1927CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Coleman JS (1986) Social theory, social research, and a theory of action. Am J Sociol 91:1309–1335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dean K (2004) The role of methods in maintaining orthodox beliefs in health research. Soc Sci Med 58:675–685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Degenne A, Forsé M (2004) Les réseaux sociaux, 2nd edn. Armand Colin, ParisGoogle Scholar
  19. Dowding K (1995) Model or metaphor? a critical review of the policy network approach. Polit Stud 43(1):136–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Eisenberg M, Swanson N (1996) Organizational network analysis as a tool for program evaluation. Eval Health Prof 19(4):488–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Emirbayer M (1997) Manifesto for a relational sociology. Am J Sociol 103(2):281–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Emirbayer M, Goodwin J (1994) Network analysis, culture, and the problem of agency. Am J Sociol 99(6):1411–1454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Erickson B (2004) Social networks. In: Blau JR (ed) The Blackwell companion to sociology. Blackwell Publishing, Malden MA, pp 314–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ford EW, Wells R, Bailey B (2004) Sustainable network advantages: a game theoretic approach to community-based health care coalitions. Health Care Manage Rev 29(2):159–169Google Scholar
  25. Fuhse JA (2009) The meaning structure of social networks. Sociol Theory 27:51–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Geertz C (1973) The interpretation of cultures. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. Granovetter M (1983) The strength of weak ties: a network theory revisited. Sociol Theory 1:201–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Heise D (1991) Event structure analysis: a qualitative model of quantitative research. In: Fielding N, Lee R (eds) Using computers in qualitative research. Sage, Newbury Park, CA, pp 136–163Google Scholar
  29. House JS, Umberson D, Landis KR (1988) Structures and processes of social support. Annu Rev Sociol 14:293–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jinnett K, Coulter I, Koegel P (2002) Cases, contexts and care: the need for grounded network analysis. In: Levy JA, Pescosolido BA (eds) Social networks and health, vol 8. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, pp 101–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jippes E, Achterkamp MC, Brand PLP, Kiewiet DJ, Jan Pols J, van Engelen JML (2010) Disseminating educational innovations in health care practice: training versus social networks. Soc Sci Med 70:1509–1517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jones IR, Ahmed N, Catty J, McLaren S, Rose D, Wykes T, Burn T (2009) Illness careers and continuity of care in mental health services: a qualitative study of service users and careers. Soc Sci Med 69:632–639CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kasper JD (2000) Health-care utilization and barriers to health care. In: Albrecht GL, Fitzpatrick R, Scrimshaw SC (eds) Handbook of social studies in health and medicine. Sage, London, pp 323–338Google Scholar
  34. Knoke D (2004) Networks and organization. In: Blau JR (ed) The Blackwell companion to sociology. Blackwell, Malden, MA, pp 327–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Learmonth M (2003) Making health services management research critical: a review and a suggestion. Sociol Health Illn 25(1):93–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Levy JA, Pescosolido BA (2002) Advances in medical sociology, vol 8. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  37. Lewis JM, Baeza JI, Alexander D (2008) Partnerships in primary care in Australia: network structure, dynamics and sustainability. Soc Sci Med 67:280–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Litwak E (1985) Helping the elderly: the complementary roles of informal networks and formal systems. Guilford Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  39. Marin A, Hampton KN (2007) Simplifying the personal network name generator: alternatives to traditional multiple and single name generators. Field methods 19:163–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Markovsky B (1987) Toward multilevel sociological theories: simulations of actor and network effects. Sociol Theory 5:101–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Martuccelli D (2002) Grammaires du l’Individu. Gallimard, ParisGoogle Scholar
  42. Martuccelli D (2005) La Consistance du Social: Une sociologie pour la Modernité. PUR, RennesGoogle Scholar
  43. Maturo A (2004) Network governance as a response to risk society dilemmas: a proposal from the sociology of health. Topoi 23(2):195–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mechanic DM (1989) Health care and the elderly. Am Acad Pol Soc Sci 503:89–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Messeri P, Silverstein M, Litwak E (1993) Choosing optimal support groups: a review and reformulation. J Health Soc Behav 34:122–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Morgan C, Mallett R, Hutchinson G, Leff J (2004) Negative pathways to psychiatric care and ethnicity: the bridge between social science and psychiatry. Soc Sci Med 58:739–752CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mykhalovskiy E, Weir L (2004) The problem of evidence-based medicine: directions for social science. Soc Sci Med 59:1059–1069CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pescosolido BA (1991) Illness careers and network ties: a conceptual model of utilization and compliance. In: Albrecht G, Levy J (eds) Advances in medical sociology, vol 2. JAI Press, Greenwich, CT, pp 161–184Google Scholar
  49. Pescosolido BA (1992) Beyond rational choice: the social dynamics of how people seek help. Am J Sociol 97(4):1096–1138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Pescosolido BA (1996) Bringing the “community” into utilization models: how social networks link individuals to changing systems of care. Res Sociol Health Care 13A:171–197Google Scholar
  51. Pescosolido BA, Kronenfeld JJ (1995) Health, illness and healing in an uncertain era: challenges from and for medical sociology. J Health Soc Behav 36(Special Issue):5–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pescosolido BA, Rubin BA (2000) The web of group affiliations revisited: social life, postmodernism, and sociology. Am Sociol Rev 65:52–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rogler LH, Cortes DE (1993) Help-seeking pathways: a unifying concept in mental health care. Am J Psychiatry 150(4):554–561Google Scholar
  54. Scott J (2000) Social network analysis: a handbook, 2nd edn. Sage, LondonGoogle Scholar
  55. Shengelia B, Tandon A, Adams OB, Murray CJL (2005) Access, utilization, quality, and effective coverage: an integrated conceptual framework and measurement strategy. Soc Sci Med 61:97–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Silverstein M, Bergtson VL, Litwak E (2003) Theoretical approaches to problems of families, aging, and social support in the context of modernization. In: Biggs S, Lowenstein A, Hendricks J (eds) The need for theory: critical approaches to social gerontology. Baywood, Amityville, NY, pp 181–198Google Scholar
  57. Simmel G (1971) Group expansion and the development of individuality. In: Levine DN (ed) Georg Simmel on individuality and social form. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, ILGoogle Scholar
  58. Smelser NJ (1988) Social structure. In: Smelser NJ (ed) Handbook of sociology. Sage, Newbury Park, CA, pp 103–129Google Scholar
  59. Snijders TAB, Doreian P (2010) Introduction to the special issue on network dynamics. Soc Netw 32:1–3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sørensen AB (1998) Theoritical mechanisms and the empirical study of social processes. In: Hedström P, Swedberg R (eds) Social mechanisms: an analytical approach to social theory. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 238–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Stevenson WB, Greenberg D (2000) Agency and social networks: strategies of action in a social structure of position, opposition, and opportunity. Adm Sci Q 45(4):651–678CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Taylor D, Bury M (2007) Chronic illness, expert patients and care transition. Sociol Health Illn 29:27–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Thornicroft G, Tansella M (2004) Components of a modern mental health service: a pragmatic balance of community and hospital care: overview of systematic evidence. Br J Psychiatry 185:283–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Uehara ES (2001) Understanding the dynamics of illness and help-seeking: event-structure analysis and a Cambodian–American narrative of ‘spirit invasion’. Soc Sci Med 52(4):519–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wasserman S, Faust K (1994) Social network analysis: methods and applications. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  66. White HC (2008) Identity and control: how social formations emerge, 2nd edn. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  67. Wiggins R, Erzberger C, Hyde M, Higgs P, Blane D (2007) Optimal matching analysis using ideal types to describe the lifecourse: an illustration of how histories of work, partnerships and housing relate to quality of life in early old age. Int J Soc Res Methodol 10(4):259–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations