Experiences of depression, the role of social support and its impact on health outcomes

Lorraine Smith, Nicholas John Hill, Renata Kokanovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Little research has been conducted into the value of support from the perspective of the person experiencing depression, or the types of support that are valued. Aim: In this article we aim to identify the beneficial sources of social support, what form these took, and when and how these sources of support helped. Methods: Narrative interviews with a maximum variation sample of 42 Australians who had experienced depression. Interviews were audio and/or video recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using a coding framework and thematic analysis. Results: Themes included early warning system, staying the course and striving for normality. Practical support made a difference to participants? health outcomes such as hospitalisation and access to therapy. Seemingly invisible sources of support were recognised and acknowledged by participants particularly when they were seeking to maintain wellness. Conclusions: Support varied according to the trajectory of the depression experience. Some forms of support can make a real difference to health outcomes. We propose an alternative interpretation to current understandings about the role of social support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342 - 346
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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