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Social support

Social support, crucial for health and well-being, comes in five forms: emotional, esteem, informational, tangible, and companionship. It's provided by a wide network, including family, friends, and even pets. High social support links to longer, healthier lives and fewer mental health issues. Conversely, low social support can lead to depression, anxiety, and increased risk of death from diseases like cancer and heart disease. Created by Brooke Miller.

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  • blobby green style avatar for user Beverly Dunn
    Why does this video on social support ignore the realm of spiritual relationships? People who share beliefs and prayer for each other can share an immensely powerful bond.
    (13 votes)
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    • male robot johnny style avatar for user chg90
      Why does it ignore the "realm of spiritual relationships" you ask? It doesn't. That could be emotional support (a religious/spiritual friend or parent using religious dialogue to comfort you), esteem support (encouragement from a priest, rabbi, etc), informational support (a bible study teacher, reading scriptures or books by spiritual authors), tangible (a congregation raising money for an ill member), or companionship (sitting next you friends or family during services, going on missionary work with religious friends). All can encompass spirituality in relationships. Spiritual support is not its own category of social support because this is considered a science topic. Looking at how praying for others, etc. could increase their well-being would quickly turn into pseudoscience.
      (31 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Elissa Janelle
    The labeling is fantastic!
    (20 votes)
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  • leafers ultimate style avatar for user aliceliou82
    What would the inspiring videos we watch while we are depressed or feel defeated belong to? I am not sure whether they are emotional, esteem, or informational support?
    (2 votes)
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    • spunky sam blue style avatar for user csajidnyc
      I think this belongs to Informational Support, since the interaction is not a 1st person or one to one basis with the source. Otherwise it would be Esteem support. Also it can not be Emotional Support since the source of support (inspirational video) can't listen to us.
      (1 vote)
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Jessica
    I feel like you can take the Companionship Support label out and divide its meanings among the other labels. You basically get companionship support from all the other kinds of support, since the supporter will be present, giving you companionship (whether in the form of emotional comfort, esteem boosting, etc.) in some way.
    (2 votes)
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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Let's say that you had a really bad day at school or at work. What is one of the first things that you would do when you got home? Maybe you would call your parents, or meet up with friends, or reach out to people online. You would turn to your social network for social support in times of stress. But, social support doesn't just come from our close friends and family. It comes from everyone that we reach out to and everyone that we get support from. So, imagine that this person is you, and let's try to get a sense of how your social network can provide you with social support. And keep in mind that individual people can play multiple roles and give you different kinds of support. And there are four main kinds of social support, or four kinds of support that we can provide for each other. The first one is emotional support. And this includes things like affection, love, trust, and caring. This is the kind of support that involves listening and empathizing, but it can also include physical things like hugs or pats on the back. And it's usually provided by those who are closest to you, so your family and your close friends. The next kind of support is esteem support. And this includes expressions of confidence and encouragement. Things that people say to let you know that they believe in you. And while this can also come from family and friends, it can also come from therapists, or coaches, or teachers. The next kind of support is informational support. And this includes sharing information with us or giving us advice. And, like the other kinds of support, this can also come from your family and friends, but it also comes from that unknown person who wrote that WebMD article about how to deal with the flu. We also have tangible support. And that can include financial assistance, material goods or services. Basically, taking some of your responsibilities so that you can deal with other problems. And this kind of support can come from impersonal entities like a bank, but it can also include people who bring you dinner when you're sick, or someone who lends you money when you're between jobs. And I know I said that there were four kinds of social support, but I'm actually gonna add a fifth now. And that's companionship support. And this is the kind of support that gives someone a sense of social belonging. It's companionship while you engage in an activity. And all these different kinds of social support can come from a ton of different places: your family, friends, romantic partners, pets, co-workers, also your healthcare specialists and community organizers. All of these different people form a social web around you that provides you with social support. And we happen to know that social support is actually incredibly important. Because it turns out that social support is actually a major determinant of health and well-being. Well-supported people tend to live longer, healthier lives. People with high levels of support also experience fewer mental health issues, and they're more likely to engage in healthy behaviors like exercise or not smoking. And it's hard to know exactly why this is, but it could be that social support helps to inoculate us against the effects of life's stressors. But what happens when we don't have a strong support network? It turns out that people with low social support tend to report more symptoms related to depression and anxiety. They tend to have higher rates of mental disorders and are more likely to have alcohol and drug problems. But I think the most interesting thing is that individuals with low social support actually have a higher risk of death from things like cancer and heart disease. And now that you're aware of all this, you probably see why it's important to pay attention, not only to your own social support, but also to the social support that you provide for others. Because just as other people form a web of social support around you, you also help to provide support for everyone in that network.