Handbook of Social Support and the Family (Springer Series on Stress and Coping)


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While insights sometimes are slow in coming, they often seem obvious when they finally arrive. This handbook is an outcome of the insight that the topics of social support and the family are very closely linked. Obvious as this might seem, the fact remains that the literatures dealing with social support and the family have been deceptively separate and distinct. For example, work on social support began in the 1970s with the accumulation of evidence that social ties and social integration play important roles in health and personal adjustment. Even though family members are often the key social supporters of individuals, relatively little reĀ­ search of social support was targeted on family interactions as a path to specifying supporter processes. It is now recognized that one of the most important features of the family is its role in providing the individual with a source of support and acceptance. Fortunately, in recen t years, the distinctness and separateness of the fields of social support and the family have blurred. This handbook provides the first collation and integration of social support and family research. This integration calls for specifying processes (such as the cognitions associated with poor support availability and unrewarding faIllily constellations) and factors (such as cultural differences in family life and support provision) that are pertinent to integration.