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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Patricia M. Meaden, PhD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This well-organized volume outlines the contributions of complex social interactions to health maintenance. Social support is defined from both psychological and sociological perspectives. Observational studies reflecting these perspectives are presented. The section on intervention studies describes how social support information is applied in both preventive and therapeutic situations.
Purpose: The authors encourage the expansion of formal clinical evaluations to include a comprehensive assessment of social interactions as they affect physical and psychological well-being. An additional aim is to encourage greater interdisciplinary collaboration, which the authors view as potentially beneficial to all practitioners in managed care environments.
Audience: The authors primarily intended this book for medical and mental health practitioners across disciplines. However, the excellent organization and well-presented research would make this volume extremely useful as a textbook for teaching social psychiatry principles.
Features: The most notable features of this book are its clear organization and extensive, up-to-date, relevant references.
Assessment: This book succeeds in describing the interactional complexity of social support systems, and presenting the challenge of empirically evaluating the contributions of social networks to human well-being. The presentation and evaluation of preventive and therapeutic interventions challenge the clinician to find new ways to incorporate social systems theory into treatment strategies.