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Health Educ Q. 1991 Winter;18(4):477-94.

Enhancing social support at the workplace: assessing the effects of the caregiver support program.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210.


Although the health-enhancing effects of social support have been well documented, little is known about how to increase the flow of social support among network members. This article describes and evaluates the Caregiver Support Program, a worksite program that attempts to improve the quality of work relationships among house managers and direct care staff who work in group homes for the developmentally disabled. The program incorporates three strategies for increasing social support: (1) adding a new person or group of persons to the employee's social network, (2) enhancing existing relationships by improving the focal employee's skills for maintaining strong networks and mobilizing support, and (3) enhancing existing relationships by training members of the employee's social network in ways to be more supportive. The Caregiver Support Program was evaluated in a randomized field trial. Results indicate that the program was effective in improving the relationships between direct care staff participants and their house managers. However, other work relationships remained unaffected. The relationship between direct care staff and their house managers was the only work relationship for which both members of the interpersonal dyad participated in the program. The implications of these findings for health education practice and future research are discussed.

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