Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

What is Social Support?

Social Support is the assistance that people receive from others, including emotional support, career or academic guidance, and practical help. Here are some examples of social support.

Tangible Support

Tangible Support is when someone lends or gives you something you need, or pitches in to help you with something you need to do. For example, someone runs an errand for you, lends you money, or clothes, provides you with food, or drives you somewhere you need to go.

Informational Support

Informational Support is giving advice or information, like helping you figure out where to get something or how to do something you need to do. Examples of information support are guidance counseling, helping with a financial aid application, or giving you a recommendation/job reference letter.


Companionship is getting together with someone to relax or have fun, often over shared interests. Examples of companionship are getting lunch together between classes, and playing soccer together on the weekends.

Emotional Support

Emotional Support involves someone who listens to you when you have a personal or private issue that is worrying you or spends time with you when you feel down or stressed out.

Different people in your life may provide you with different types of social support. For some kinds of support, you may rely on your peers, while for others you may choose to confide in parents or another supportive adult. Some people may be able to get lots of different types of support in their lives, but they rely mostly on the same one or two people–like close friends or a romantic partner. 

Often, a social support network is most effective when it consists of a variety of peers and more experienced adults.

It’s also important to consider balance across the different types of social support in your life. Some people have family members who can provide them with emotional support and encouragement but lack informational support about how to pursue certain academic or career goals. Other people might have lots of friends for companionship but feel uncomfortable talking to those friends for emotional support.

Can you identify one or more people in your life for the different categories of social support: Tangible, Informational, Companionship, and Emotional?