The Science behind Social Support: How It Helps to Build Resilience

Social support is an essential aspect of human life. We all need someone to turn to when life takes a toll on us. According to a research article published in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, individuals with more significant social support tend to have better psychological and physical health than those with limited social support. In this article, we delve deeper into the concept of social support, its benefits, and how it helps to build resilience.

What is Social Support?

Social support is defined as the networks of people in our lives who provide practical and emotional support, including positive social interaction, advice, and tangible assistance. These individuals are our family members, friends, colleagues, neighbours or members of a community group that provide a sense of belongingness, acceptance, and love.

According to the social support theory, social support contributes to providing an individual with a sense of well-being that allows them to cope better with stress or adversity. Researchers have been studying the link between social support and resilience for many years and have found that social support improves a person’s ability to cope with stress and adversity, become more resilient, and improve mental health.

How Social Support Helps Build Resilience

Resilience is defined as the ability to cope with stress and adversity and bounce back stronger from difficult situations. In today’s fast-paced world, resilience has become more important than ever before. Social support plays a critical role in building resilience, and here’s how:

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1. Increase Sense of Belongingness

When individuals feel connected to others, they are more likely to feel a sense of belongingness, which is essential for psychological well-being. Social support provides individuals with the feeling of being accepted, valued, and loved, which ultimately fosters a sense of belongingness. This sense of belongingness can help individuals better cope with stress and adversity, making them more resilient.

2. Encourages Seeking Help When Needed

Individuals with strong social support structures are more likely to seek help when they are experiencing stress or adversity. Seeking help when needed is crucial in building resilience. People with healthy social support structures often feel more comfortable accessing help from individuals and community resources for support.

3. Provides Emotional Support

Emotional support is one of the essential kinds of social support. When individuals are going through difficult times, they need someone to turn to who can provide emotional support. Social support networks provide individuals with a safe space to share their struggles, doubts, and anxieties without any fear of judgment. This emotional support from friends and family helps individuals build resilience against stressors.

4. Acts as a Buffer Against Adversity

Strong social support structures act as a buffer against adversity by helping individuals cope during difficult times. When individuals are supported by others, they feel a greater sense of control over life challenges. Even in the face of significant adversity, individuals with strong social support structures are more likely to cope well and ultimately become more resilient.

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5. Provides Positive Social Interactions

Positive social interactions are essential components of social support. Social interactions provide individuals with opportunities to connect, develop friendships, and create memories. Positive social interactions boost morale and increase individuals’ self-esteem and self-worth. These positive social interactions act as a buffer against the negative effects of stress and boost resilience levels.


Social support plays a critical role in building resilience. It provides individuals with a sense of belongingness, encourages seeking help when needed, provides emotional support, acts as a buffer against adversity, and facilitates positive social interactions. While social support can come from various sources, including family, friends, and community groups, it is critical to seek and maintain healthy social support structures.

In conclusion, the science behind social support is clear – it plays a vital role in building resilience. Taking steps to nurture and maintain healthy social support networks is essential for better mental health and overall well-being. By doing so, individuals can develop resilience that can help them cope better with stressful life situations.