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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(12), 2695; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15122695

Personal Network Analysis in the Study of Social Support: The Case of Chronic Pain

1
Department of Nursing, SALBIS Research Group, Nursing Research Group IDIVAL, University of Cantabria, 39008 Santander, Spain
2
Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, GRAFO, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Barcelona, Spain
3
Servei d’Estadística Aplicada, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Barcelona, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 September 2018 / Revised: 21 November 2018 / Accepted: 25 November 2018 / Published: 29 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Networks and Health)
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Abstract

In the context of chronic illness, the individual’s social and relational environment plays a critical role as it can provide the informal support and care over time, beyond healthcare and social welfare institutions. Social Network Analysis represents an appropriate theoretical and methodological approach to study and understand social support since it provides measures of personal network structure, composition and functional content. The aim of this mixed method study is to present the usefulness of Personal Network Analysis to explore social support in the context of chronic pain. Personal and support network data of 30 people with chronic pain (20 alters for each ego, 600 relationships in total) were collected, obtaining measures of personal network structure and composition as well as information about social support characteristics. Also, semi-structured interviews with participants were conducted to identify the context of their experience of pain, their limitations as regards leading an autonomous life, their social support needs and other aspects concerning the effect of pain on their social and relational lives. This approach shows the importance of non-kin social support providers and the significant role of non-providers in the personal networks of people suffering chronic pain. View Full-Text
Keywords: social support; social networks; chronic illness; chronic pain; personal networks social support; social networks; chronic illness; chronic pain; personal networks
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Fernández-Peña, R.; Molina, J.L.; Valero, O. Personal Network Analysis in the Study of Social Support: The Case of Chronic Pain. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 2695.

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