Perceptions of helpful and unhelpful support among married individuals with rheumatic diseases

Ana F. Lanza, Ann E. Cameron, Tracey A. Revenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Used an ecological framework to explore what contextual factors (interpersonal, sociocultural, medical, and temporal) relate to rheumatic disease patients' perceptions of helpful and unhelpful social support. Data are presented from two studies, one of recently diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis patients (n = 62) and another of patients with rheumatic diseases of longer duration (n =113). Respondents described the most helpful and least helpful episodes of support received. Responses were coded for type of support (emotional, tangible, informational, critical remarks) and support provider (spouse, medical professional, kin, or friend). In both studies, the perceived helpfulness of particular types of support varied by provider. Both the most and least helpful episodes involved emotional support from the spouse or tangible support from medical professionals. Other contextual variables were less strongly related to support perceptions. The findings suggest that illness contexts may create needs for certain types of support from particular providers and that unfulfilled needs may contribute to perceptions of support as unhelpful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-462
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology & Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 1995


  • Social support
  • ecological approach
  • rheumatic disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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