Social Support and Depression

  • George W. Brown
  • Bernice Andrews
Part of the The Plenum Series on Stress and Coping book series (SSSO)


Social support may act to reduce the chances of a major stressor provoking clinical depression, or, for that matter, other forms of psycho-pathology or illness. Interest in this possibility increased in the 1970s with several influential reviews (Caplan, 1974; Cassei, 1974, 1976; Cobb, 1976). In discussing this protective or buffering role, we will take largely for granted that there is now good evidence that most instances of depression are provoked by a critical life event or difficulty. As a rough guide, our argument will turn on two specific themes and one general theme. First, if the link between such events and difficulties and depression is to be understood, the meaning of stressors will need to be dealt with. In our view, this is best done not by asking our subjects directly, but indirectly, using the investigator as a measuring instrument—and by considering an event or difficulty in the light of the context of a particular individual’s life.


Social Support Single Parent Negative Evaluation Severe Event Negative Interaction 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • George W. Brown
    • 1
  • Bernice Andrews
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social Policy and Social Science, Royal Holloway and Bedford New CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonEngland

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