Directive support, nondirective support, and health behaviors in a community sample

J Behav Med. 2012 Oct;35(5):492-9. doi: 10.1007/s10865-011-9377-x. Epub 2011 Aug 30.


Social support is associated with improved psychological functioning, physical health, and health-promoting behaviors. However, research suggests that health outcomes might depend upon the type rather than the amount of support provided to recipients. This study assessed the relationship among nondirective and directive support, and health behaviors (i.e., physical activity, fruit and vegetable intake, alcohol use) in a community sample of 304 adults. Results revealed that nondirective support was related to greater fruit and vegetable intake and lower alcohol use; directive support was not associated with these behaviors. For physical activity, a similar trend emerged, but support variables did not explain any variance above that explained by demographic variables. These findings offer a unique contribution to the literature, as they suggest that certain types of supportive behaviors are important in encouraging positive health behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Social Support*