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Social Support

Social support refers to the various types of support (assistance or help) that people receive from other people.

Social support is sometimes divided into three main categories:

  • Emotional support refers to the things that people do that make us feel loved and cared for, that bolster our sense of self-worth (e.g., talking over a problem, providing encouragement/positive feedback).
  • Instrumental support refers to the various types of tangible help that others may provide (e.g., help with childcare/housekeeping, provision of transportation or money).
  • Informational support represents a third type of social support refers to the help that others may offer through the provision of information.

Formal social support may be provided by statutory organisations (such as social services) while informal social support may be provided by non-statutory organisations (such as social clubs or churches) or by individuals (such as friends and relatives).

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This glossary is designed to explain some of the jargon and gobbledygook used by some people when they talk about autism or research..

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