Social Support in the Etiology of Depression: A Panel Study
The substantial contemporary interest in the epidemiologic functions of social support or social support networks in depression and other disorders is rooted in a number of sources. These include (1) the growing scientific and clinical conviction that stress may be a significant factor in a wide variety of psychiatric and physical disorders. (2) In the epidemiologic literature in particular, the weight of evidence that recent life changes have a significant, if modest, effect on the occurrence of depression leads to a sustained search for clarification of factors which may explain the differential vulnerability of individuals to illness in the context of recent life changes or other stressors. These factors include biological, psychological or social support. (3) The existence of highly suggestive evidence that social support may serve to reduce the risk of illness in the face of stress (the buffering effect of social support). And, (4) the theoretical importance of intimate relationships within the fields of sociology, clinical psychology and psychiatry.
KeywordsSocial Support Social Support Network Epidemiologic Literature Physical Disorder Differential Vulnerability
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