Social support theory is a widely recognized and utilized concept that has helped many people cope with various life challenges. It is based on the belief that social support can provide individuals with emotional, practical, and informational resources to help them deal with stressors. But when was it first created?

The origins of social support theory can be traced back to the mid-20th century when researchers began investigating the impact of social relationships on health and well-being. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the term “social support” was coined by Cobb in his study of heart attack patients.

Since then, numerous studies have been conducted to explore the effects of social support on various aspects of life such as coping with chronic illness, recovery from addiction, and dealing with traumatic events. Researchers have also identified different types of social support such as emotional support (e.g., empathy), instrumental support (e., tangible assistance), informational support (e., advice), and appraisal support (e., feedback).

One of the most influential figures in the development of social support theory was Dr. George Vaillant, a psychiatrist who conducted a longitudinal study on adult development for over 30 years. His work provided valuable insights into how social relationships impact mental health and well-being.

Today, social support theory continues to be an important area of research and practice in fields such as psychology, medicine, and public health. It has been applied in various settings such as hospitals, schools, workplaces, and communities to promote resilience and enhance coping skills.

In conclusion, while the concept of social support has been studied for decades, it wasn’t until the 1970s that it was formally identified and named by researchers like Cobb. Since then, numerous studies have been conducted exploring its impact on various aspects of life.

Dr. George Vaillant’s work has been particularly influential in shaping our understanding of how social relationships impact mental health and well-being. Today, social support theory continues to be an important area of research and practice, helping individuals cope with life’s challenges.