Social support and social networks in COPD: A scoping review

Christopher Barton, Tanya W. Effing, Paul Cafarella

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


A scoping review was conducted to determine the size and nature of the evidence describing associations between social support and networks on health, management and clinical outcomes amongst patients with COPD. Searches of PubMed, PsychInfo and CINAHL were undertaken for the period 1966-December 2013. A descriptive synthesis of the main findings was undertaken to demonstrate where there is current evidence for associations between social support, networks and health outcomes, and where further research is needed. The search yielded 318 papers of which 287 were excluded after applying selection criteria. Two areas emerged in which there was consistent evidence of benefit of social support; namely mental health and self-efficacy. There was inconsistent evidence for a relationship between perceived social support and quality of life, physical functioning and self-rated health. Hospital readmission was not associated with level of perceived social support. Only a small number of studies (3 articles) have reported on the social network of individuals with COPD. There remains a need to identify the factors that promote and enable social support. In particular, there is a need to further understand the characteristics of social networks within the broader social structural conditions in which COPD patients live and manage their illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)690-702
Number of pages13
JournalCOPD: Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • COPD
  • psychosocial factors
  • review
  • social networks
  • social support

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