Sunday, March 18, 2012

Social Support!

In two landmark studies on resilience (Werner & Smith, 2001; Cederblad et al., 1994), the significance of social support in promoting and sustaining resilience was highlighted.

Werner & Smith (2001) noted:
The men and women in this cohort consistently ranked mental health professionals (whether psychiatrists, psychologists, or social workers) much lower than counsel and advice given by spouses, friends, members of the extended family, teachers, mentors, coworkers, members of church groups, or ministers.  Their low opinion of the effectiveness of professional help did not improve from the second to the third and fourth decade of life.  This finding taught us a lesson in humility! (p. 169).
Almedom, A., & Glandon, D. (2007). Resilience is not the Absence of PTSD any More than Health is the Absence of Disease, Journal of Loss and Trauma, 12(2), 127-143. 

When I read this, I think that influencing the opinion and advice given by the social support network of urban youth and their families will go a long way to influencing their resilient behavior.  Social marketing approaches (vs. individual therapy approaches) seem better equipped to do this and seem more likely to shape social norms.

When I read this, I also think back to my decision to cut out time with friends and family in order to juggle work, school and mothering.  Silly girl.  Lesson learned:  When beginning a rigorously challenging undertaking, you need more support and resources, not less.   Next time, I'll cut down my unrealistic expectations instead.

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