Choosing optimal support groups: a review and reformulation.

P. Messeri, M. Silverstein, E. Litwak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


There is considerable empirical research on the division of supportive and caregiving services among different network members. Yet the principles that govern the configuration of social support networks are still not well understood. Cantor's (1979) and Shanas' (1979) hierarchical-compensatory model and Litwak's (1985) task-specific model are among the more prominent formulations for explaining the choice of support groups. We propose that the former model is a special case of the latter one. The major conceptual features of both models are summarized here, followed by a qualitative review of 16 key empirical studies coupled with a meta-analysis to demonstrate the broader application of the task-specific model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-137
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of health and social behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Choosing optimal support groups: a review and reformulation.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this