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Am J Community Psychol. 1984 Dec;12(6):645-61.

The structure and function of social support networks in families with handicapped children.

Abstract

Three structural characteristics of social support networks (size, density, and boundary density) and two relationship characteristics (reciprocity and dimensionality) were assessed in a sample of 56 families with a child with spina bifida and 53 matched comparison families. The results indicate that social networks of families with handicapped children tended to be smaller than the networks of comparison families, particularly with regard to mothers' total and friendship networks. The networks of families with handicapped children were more dense as well. As predicted, there was greater boundary density in spousal networks in families with handicapped children. Differences in network reciprocity were inconclusive while the results indicate that families with handicapped children tended to rely more heavily upon multidimensional network contacts than did comparison families. The results are discussed in light of our understanding of stress, social support, and the social ecological context of families.

PMID:
6395691
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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