Irene Oyeflaten, Jeanne Gabriele, Edwin Fisher, Hege Eriksen
International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, Vol. 17, Iss. 8, 04 Aug 2010, pp 424 - 435

Aims: The objective of this study was to examine differences in the social support rehabilitation patients received from rehabilitation staff and from support providers outside rehabilitation, and to examine the relationships between social support and the patients' reports of subjective health complaints (SHC).
Methods: A total of 131 patients (68% female, mean age 45 years) participating in a 4-week, inpatient, occupational rehabilitation programme were included. All patients completed questionnaires on demographic variables, SHC, and social support (Social Support Inventory, SSI) received from rehabilitation staff and from support providers outside rehabilitation. The factor structure of the Norwegian version of SSI was analysed identifying two factors; directive and nondirective social support.
Findings: Patients reported significantly more support from rehabilitation staff than from support providers outside rehabilitation, and they reported significantly more nondirective support compared to directive support. High directive support from providers outside rehabilitation was associated with more subjective health complaints.
Conclusions: Fully understanding the role of social support in health and well being will require attention not only to the source of support but also to its characteristics and nature, such as whether it is nondirective or directive.

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