Role of Social Support in Self-management of Health

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Information Systems, Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Putrajaya, 43000, Malaysia.

2 Department of Graphics and Multimedia, Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Putrajaya, 43000, Malaysia


Social support is the physical and emotional comfort given to someone in times of need or crises and it is especially important for maintaining good physical and mental health. Despite the contribution of intelligent technological devices, which have led to the availability of various types of social support systems, the latter are still not widely known to many. These support systems are currently available in many versions, such as in tablets and smartphones, where many health information systems have been created specifically to accommodate to the needs of current mobile healthcare consumers. In this paper, we systematically review the role of social support provided via health information systems and report a qualitative study that investigates the perceptions of healthcare professionals and consumers towards incorporating social support in self-care applications. The results obtained through our study reveal that social support is associated with better health management and is a vital component to be incorporated in any novel health information system. Likewise, the results are supported by our qualitative study that indicates healthcare professionals and consumers emphasize the inclusion of the social support component in self-care applications to achieve better health outcomes.


Adams, P., Baumer, E. P., & Gay, G. (2014). Staccato social support in mobile health applications. In Proceedings of the 32nd annual ACM conference on Human factors in computing systems - CHI ’14 (pp. 653–662). New York, New York, USA: ACM Press.
Au-Yeung, K. Y., Robertson, T., Hafezi, H., Moon, G., DiCarlo, L., Zdeblick, M., & Savage, G. (2010). A networked system for self-management of drug therapy and wellness. In Wireless Health 2010 on - WH 10 (p. 1). New York, New York, USA: ACM Press.
Cronan, T. A., Hay, M., Groess, E., Bigatti, S., Gallagher, R., & Tomita, M. (1998). The effects of social support and education on health care costs after three years. Arthritis Care & Research11(5), 326–334.
DailyStrength: Online Support Groups and Forums. (2006). Retrieved January 17, 2019, from
Glanz, K., Rimer, B. K., & Viswanath, K. (2008). Health Behavior And Health Education ; Theory, Research, and Practice (4th ed.). Wiley.  
Haffiza, N., Rahaman, B., Mustaffa, C. S., & Ariffin, T. (2014). Social Support , Impression Management and Well-Being Following a Disaster : A Literature Review and Some Conceptual Considerations, 4(1), 1–4.  
Heywood, J. (2005). Live better, together! | PatientsLikeMe. Retrieved January 17, 2019, from
Jacobson, R. (2013). 2.5 Quintillion Bytes of Data Created Every Day. How Does CPG & Retail Manage It?  IBM Consumer Products Industry Blog, 24 April 2013.
Ko, H.-C., Wang, L.-L., & Xu, Y.-T. (2013). Understanding the different types of social support offered by audience to A-list diary-like and informative bloggers. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking16(3), 194–199.
Koetsenruijter, J., van Eikelenboom, N., van Lieshout, J., Vassilev, I., Lionis, C., Todorova, E., … Wensing, M. (2016). Social support and self-management capabilities in diabetes patients: An international observational study. Patient Education and Counseling99(4), 638–643.
Lee, S.-Y. D., Arozullah, A. M., & Cho, Y. I. (2004). Health literacy, social support, and health: a research agenda. Social Science & Medicine58(7), 1309–1321.  
Mustaffa, C. S., Marzuki, N. A., Ariffin, M. T., Salleh, N. A., & Rahaman, N. H. (2014). Relationship between social support, impression management and well-being among flood victims in Malaysia. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences155, 197-202.
Miller, A. B., Esposito-Smythers, C., & Leichtweis, R. N. (2015). Role of Social Support in Adolescent Suicidal Ideation and Suicide Attempts.  
My Fitness Pal. (2019). Free Calorie Counter, Diet & Exercise Journal | Retrieved March 29, 2019, from
Reblin, M., & Uchino, B. N. (2008). Social and emotional support and its implication for health. Current Opinion in Psychiatry21(2), 201–205.  
Siddaway, A. (2014). What is a systematic literature review and how do I do one? University of Stirling, (Ii), 1–13.
Singh, R., & Nayak, J. K. (2015). Mediating role of stress between work-family conflict and job satisfaction among the police officials. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management38(4), 738–753.  
Sobnath, D., Philip, N., Kayyali, R., Nabhani-Gebara, S., Pierscionek, B., & Raptopoulos, A. (2016). Mobile self-management application for COPD patients with comorbidities: A usability study. In 2016 IEEE 18th International Conference on e-Health Networking, Applications and Services (Healthcom) (pp. 1–6). IEEE.
Sultan, S., & Mohan, P. (2012). Designing a Peer-Facilitated Self-Management Mobile Application: A User-Centred Approach. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare. IEEE.
Upwellbeing. (2019). UpwellBeing - Diabetes. Retrieved September 4, 2019, from
Vaismoradi, M., Turunen, H., & Bondas, T. (2013). Content analysis and thematic analysis: Implications for conducting a qualitative descriptive study. Nursing & Health Sciences15(3), 398–405.
Weaver, R. R., Lemonde, M., Payman, N., & Goodman, W. M. (2014). Health capabilities and diabetes self-management: The impact of economic, social, and cultural resources. Social Science & Medicine102, 58–68.  
Zhang, X., Norris, S. L., Gregg, E. W., & Beckles, G. (2007). Social support and mortality among older persons with diabetes. The Diabetes Educator33(2), 273–281.