Social support and stress among homeless adults in southern Poland

The present study investigated the main and stress-buffering effects of social support in a representative sample of homeless adults (N = 200) obtained in a 2-city region of southern Poland. Two different measures of social support were used: the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL) and the Social Network Interview (SNI). The findings support research in the United States and other nations, showing that (a) higher levels of reported stressful life events predicted all three outcomes assessed (i.e., symptoms of psychological distress, alcohol abuse and dependence, and physical health), (b) higher scores on ISEL perceived support and the SNI Family Index were associated with fewer symptoms on one or more of the outcomes, and (c) social support may be an important buffer protecting people from the negative impact of stress, even among a high-risk group such as homeless adults. Implications for future research, policy, and intervention are discussed.

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Wiley Periodicals, Inc.