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34 Examples of Social Support

Social support is the degree to which a person feels they can rely on others. This includes support from friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, pets, institutions, organizations and communities. This is viewed as overwhelmingly positive but can also have a negative side whereby being socially included can involve stresses such as social conflict. The following are common examples of social support.
Emotional support
Meaningful conversation
People who care
Material support such as providing you with food
Services such as cooking dinner for you
Help with problem solving
Decision making support
Access to advice and guidance
Social information exchange
Shared experiences such as doing activities together
Sense of belonging and inclusion
Empathy and sympathy
Celebrating special occasions with others
People who will listen
People who are on your side
People you can trust
People you can connect with when you feel isolated or lonely
Participating in group activities
The feeling that others understand you
Receiving encouragement from others
Opportunities to support others
Unconditional love
Shared routines such as social meals with family
Caring for a pet
Access to financial assistance from others
Reassurance from others
Physical assistance
Someone who would help you at your time of need
Someone who teaches your things or invests in your improvement
Social opportunities
Feeling that you are needed
Feeling that you have a positive impact on others
There is a difference between perceived support and received support. For example, you may feel that your parents would help you if you faced sudden financial hardship but you might have never actually asked for any financial help. Perceived support is correlated to positive outcomes and received support is not1.
Playing a role in things by supporting others is just as important as feeling that you are supported yourself.
Social support can be informal such as a friend or formal such as living in an senior care community or being an employee of a firm whereby you are socially included in an institution or organization.
Social support can be considered in terms of breadth and depth. A person need not have a large social network to feel a sense of social support whereby a few close friends or family members may offer much support but a large network of casual connections may not.
Next: Social Interaction
More about social support:
Community Impact
Community Needs
Social Behavior
Social Identity
Social Institutions
Social Interaction
Social Support
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(1) Barrera Jr, Manuel. "Distinctions between social support concepts, measures, and models." American journal of community psychology 14.4 (1986): 413-445.


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