This article reviews the literature on social support/network and help seeking. The review suggests that the network is important in transmitting values and beliefs that influence health behaviors, in providing treatment and referral for disorders, and in alleviating or causing stress that leads to the use of services. Although there is a great deal of theoretical writing and research that substantiates the relationship of social supports to help seeking and evidence that nurses in practice are providers of support, there is very little research on nursing interventions that provide support. The article argues that one of the reasons for the lack of tested interventions is the lack of an adequate typology for categories of lack of support. The article argues that, because different categories require different types of interventions, development and testing of interventions can be assisted by a typology. Six categories of lack of support are proposed. Interventions are discussed for each category.
© 1988 Aspen Publishers, Inc.