The role of intimacy and social support in health outcomes: Two processes or one?

HARRY T. REIS, Peter Franks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

That intimacy and social support are related to an individual's health and well‐being has often been noted. The present study had two goals. First, we intended to establish whether intimacy and social support were related to mental and physical health in a large, representative community sample. Second, we sought to determine whether intimacy and social support make unique contributions to predicting health, as a step toward developing a model of the relation between these processes. Results strongly supported the initial hypothesis that intimacy and social support were both related to health status. We also found that the effects of intimacy on well‐being were mediated by social support, but that the effects of social support were not mediated by intimacy. We therefore concluded that the health‐promoting benefits of intimacy most likely occur because intimate relationships are likely to engender higher levels of social support. Distinguishing unique and shared prediction effects is a generic concern for disciplines that study variables that are naturally correlated in real life, such as in the field of personal relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-197
Number of pages13
JournalPersonal Relationships
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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