Social Support, Personality, and Health

  • Irwin G. Sarason
Part of the Contributions to Psychology and Medicine book series (CONTRIBUTIONS)


This review by Sarason vividly describes how certain personal and social factors can influence vulnerability to stress. The focus is upon life events and social support, and how these and other factors may interact to effect health, illness, and happiness. He points out how the original thinking that all life events (positive and negative) contribute to increased vulnerability has been supplanted by recent data indicating serious repercussions for health and adjustment for negative life events, but neutral or positive consequences for positive life events. There follows a review of the issues in the personality and life events-illness relationship that focuses on both individual differences in personality characteristics such as locus of control and sensation seeking, and on the nature of appraisal of life events. Both factors contribute to the determination of the amount of stress that will be experienced by the individual. The majority of the chapter, however, is devoted to the author’s research on social support. He sets the background by emphasizing the environmental and individual difference perspectives, both essential to an understanding of the influence of social support upon health. His review of the literature provides both answers and questions, as he probes data related to such diverse things as aging, reproduction and birth complications, immune function, job disruptions, chest pain, and asthma. His own research on the topic is rich and thorough.


Social Support Coping Strategy Life Stress Negative Life Event Genital Herpes 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1988

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  • Irwin G. Sarason

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