The identification of factors that promote health in high-risk populations could increase our ability to understand and prevent the development of psychopathology. Although previous studies have suggested several coping variables that affect adaptation, these findings remain fragmentary and in need of integration within a multifactorial model. The author proposes studying the role of the social network in the coping process as an integrative framework for developing this model and describes two studies using this approach. In the first study of college students during final exams, low-density networks were associated with more satisfying emotional support. In the second study of recent young widows and mature women returning to college, low-density, multidimensional networks were again associated with more satisfying support, as well as better mood, fewer symptoms, and higher self-esteem. A coping strategy based on membership in such networks is described. This strategy integrates resources in several personal and environmental domains. Theoretical and empirical guidelines are suggested for delineating alternative coping strategies of equivalent adaptive value.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health