Pathways and processes linking social support to health: Development of an exploratory model with South African caregivers
Casale, Marisa A.J.
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Despite ample evidence of the protective role of social support for mental and physical health, key gaps remain in our understanding of the pathways and mediating processes explaining these relationships in specific vulnerable populations. The author applies a theoretical framework developed by House et al. to qualitative data, collected with 24 caregivers of children living in HIV-endemic South African communities, to explore potential effects and processes linking social support to health. The data used for this analysis were part of a sequential mixed-methods research study with caregivers of children; previous survey findings (n = 2,477) showed significant associations between more social support and better mental health and self-reported physical health. Results point to multiple pathways and biopsychosocial mediating processes possibly explaining the support–health relationship. The author develops an exploratory model to illustrate these findings, based on the House et al. framework, and discusses implications for research, interventions, and theory.
- Research Articles (SoPH)