Social support and social networks in COPD: A scoping review

Christopher Barton, Tanja Effing-Tijdhof, Paul Cafarella

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    49 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
    Early online date2015
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2015


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


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