Social support and social networks interventions

Close up of group of young people using Mobile Phones

There is evidence that social support – from both informal and formal sources - and health are related. Interventions, including social support components, can improve health and health behaviours and help facilitate maintenance of behaviour change, which is a key knowledge gap and challenge to public health. However, there are multiple potential processes through which social support and health are interdependent, and mechanisms and interventions to improve health are under-theorised.

We develop theory and understanding around how social support mechanisms and networks can be used in interventions. We have a particular focus on ehealth (healthcare practices that rely on electronic media) and mhealth (healthcare practices that rely on mobile), and how these can be used to mobilise social networks and social support to improve health. Our projects include: HelpMeDoIt!, Lifestyle intervention for people with bipolar: the LIBI study, The role of social networks in the development and maintenance of maternal obesity.


Kathy O’Brien, Cardiff University
Simon Murphy, Cardiff University
Eleanor John, Cardiff University 
Sarah Morgan Trimmer, University of Exeter
Mark Kelson, University of Exeter

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