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Social Support and Social Structure

James S. House
Sociological Forum
Vol. 2, No. 1 (Winter, 1987), pp. 135-146
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/684531
Page Count: 12
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Social Support and Social Structure
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Abstract

The burgeoning study of social support in relation to social stress and health would benefit from increased attention to issues of social structure. Three aspects of social relationships, all often referred to as social support, must be more clearly distinguished--(1) their existence or quantity (i.e., social integration), (2) their formal structure (i.e., social networks), and (3) their functional or behavioral content (i.e., the most precise meaning of "social support")--and the causal relationships between the structure of social relationships (social integration and networks) and their functional content (social support) must be more clearly understood. Research and theory are needed on the determinants of social integration, networks, and support as well as their consequences for stress and health. Among potential determinants, macrosocial structures and processes particularly merit attention.

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