A meta-analysis of the relationship between social support and well-being

Kaohsiung J Med Sci. 1998 Nov;14(11):717-26.


This study focuses upon the relationship between social support and well-being and the effect size of social support on well-being. Meta-analysis was used to synthesize the primary research studies and a computer search was used in the preliminary examination of the literature. After this preliminary screening and narrowing of the search, approximately 150 research articles published after 1985 were reviewed. Totally, 21 primary studies met the inclusion criteria of this meta-analysis. This study indicated that 41 outcome variables were used in the 21 primary studies. Of these, seven outcome variables were categorized and named. Among these seven outcome variables, social support was significantly correlated with positive mood state, negative mood state, depression, level of functioning, and quality of life. Social support was not found to have a significant correlation at the .05 level of significance with perceived health status and physical symptoms. These findings have three implications: they facilitate external validity and generalization of research findings of the primary studies; they provide information on the magnitude of sample size for achieving statistical significance between social support and an outcome variable for future studies; and they provide information about social support intervention and enhancing the effect of social support on well-being.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Support*