The importance of social support
We all need to be able to turn to family and friends when we've got a problem. There
is a strong link between the support we receive and our wellbeing.
People who have little support from those around them have been shown to
have greater depression and anxiety and lower quality of life.
What do we mean by support?
from our family and friends is essential to our daily life. We all
need help from time to time. Whether it’s a free babysitting service
from parents, a chance to ‘offload’ to your friends over a glass of wine
or two, or persuading your partner to crack on with the list of DIY
tasks he’s been promising to get on with for the last six months!
Whether it’s emotional or practical support we need, we all rely on our
family and friends in a whole manner of different ways every single day.
Lower support for stepfamilies
has suggested that stepfamilies are more susceptible to problems with
their support network than biological families. Often they can't rely on
in-laws for example who stay loyal to the ex partner, leaving
stepfamilies struggling for emotional and practical support from key
family members. Also when individuals become part of a new stepfamily,
they can easily lose touch with their old friends with whom they find
they have less in common and who struggle to understand their new family
Link between support and our wellbeing
is a well recognised link between social support and our wellbeing,
with more support linked to greater psychological wellbeing. Research
has shown that if an individual has good social support they are likely
to suffer from fewer depressive symptoms, have higher self esteem and
self worth and be happier and more content with their lives.
addition to emotional health, social support has also been shown to be
linked with better physical health. The ability to be able to rely on a
wide circle of family and friends can be thought of as a ‘buffer’
against stress, helping us cope better with the problems that life’s
thrown at us. And while it’s important to be able to rely on our
partners for support, it’s equally important that they are not our only
shoulder to lean on. Other family members, such as parents, brothers,
sisters and even adult children are also important to our social support
network, as are our friends. Perhaps not surprisingly women typically
have larger and more diverse social networks than men. But while this is
a good thing when they have their support network in place, women find
it much harder than men to cope when they haven’t got a strong support
make sure you can turn to those around you when times are tough. Don't
bottle up your feelings - if you feel you can't talk to your partner
about something share it with a friend. Just being able to talk through
your feelings can really help put things in perspective.