Social Support, Supportive Communication, and Health

Authored by: Erina L. MacGeorge , Yanmengqian Zhou

The Routledge Handbook of Health Communication

Print publication date:  September  2021
Online publication date:  September  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367488956
eBook ISBN: 9781003043379
Adobe ISBN:


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Supportive communication is verbal and nonverbal behavior produced to assist others in need of aid. The study of supportive communication and health emphasizes functional, behavior-focused approaches to conceptualizing and operationalizing social support, along with the psychological and behavioral pathways through which social support affects health. This chapter situates supportive communication relative to the broader study of social support and overviews research and theory connecting supportive communication and health in both offline and online contexts. Most of this research addresses the quantity, quality, and impact of supportive communication for people with specific health conditions or concerns.

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