Healthcare and Medicine Reference
of support for vulnerable families and how it can buffer the effects of eco-
nomic downturns. It has been recognized, however, that social support as
a concept does require further empirical evidence, to clearly realize its
value for enhancing the well-being and social benefits
( Espey, Harper, & Jones, 2010 ).
Social support of children and other family members is crucial to their
positive well-being and social and personal development. The economic
crisis has demonstrated the need for greater social support. The slow
economic recovery provides less opportunity for the positive development
of children, who will require even greater social support.
Besides the need for financial assistance, adolescents often have special
developmental issues that require considerable family and social support.
Adolescents who receive inadequate support from parents will likely have
a greater chance of experiencing depression and other mental health and
emotional problems. This is further compounded when adolescents
become confused if they don't receive the financial support and positive
reinforcement from their parents and family members that they expect
( Stice, Ragan, & Randall, 2004 ). Root (2006) found that, during the
period in which adolescents are still developing, they are more prone to
experiencing anxiety and depression. These are two main psychological
disorders common among many adolescents, and may be exacerbated as a
result of the economic downturn and job loss.
Beside family support, peer support is also an important factor for the
well-being of adolescents, who value and rely a great deal upon their
friends. Peer support can be considered as an alternative method for
receiving social support when adolescents are given inadequate attention
from their parents. Peer support is not as reliable as family support since it
can more easily be withdrawn or replaced among friends. Adolescents
who become emotionally distraught or depressed can find that social sup-
port from peers is often less available. Social support is even more essential
for an adolescent's well-being and ability to cope during difficult
economic times ( Stice et al., 2004 ).
Social support is also an important factor in predicting the health and
well-being of entire families, ranging from childhood through older
adulthood. The absence of social support reveals some difficulties among
job-displaced individuals and families. In many cases, it can predict the
deterioration of certain aspects of physical and mental health among vul-
nerable family members. Clark (2003) noted that when people receive
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