Free Essay: Description of Two Theories That Have the Greatest Influence on Social Networks

Published: 2023-03-28
Free Essay: Description of Two Theories That Have the Greatest Influence on Social Networks
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Social networks Healthcare Stress Emotional intelligence
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1241 words
11 min read

One of the theories that have the most significant influence on social networks is social support theory. According to this theory, social support is crucial in protecting people against the negative consequences of stressors by allowing them to construe stressful situations less negatively (Galvan, Davis, Banks, & Bing, 2008). This theory is focused on a person's perception of the availability of support during times of stress. When a healthcare professional or a researcher is using this theoretical approach, measures of perceived social support are used that ask individuals to assess the availability or quality of various types of help or support from various types of people.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Social support has also been described as the psychological and material resources derived from a social network to help people cope with stress. An individual obtains social support from various sources. For example, a person who is facing a problematic situation that may lead to depression-such as loss of a parent- may get psychological support from a friend to help in going through the devastating situation.

Another theory that has the highest relevance to social networks is social network theory. This theoretical model explains how social relationships are essential in the transmission of information and permitting a change of attitudes and behaviors (Liu, Sidhu, Beacom, & Valente, 2017). In this theoretical framework, individuals are defined as nodes and relationships among them described as linkages among nodes (Takahashi et al. 2009).

Additionally, social network theory states that people's attributes are less significant than their relationships with and links with other individuals within the social network (Hansen, Shneiderman, Smith, & Himelboim, 2020). The model further posits that the structure of a person's group is vital because it enables two-way communication. Using this model of communication, an individual can ask a question and get responses from many people within the network, thus establishing a meaningful discussion.

The Nature of the Relationship Among People, Social Networks, and Health Behaviors.

According to social support theory, people seek health-related information within their interpersonal networks such as coworkers, friends, and family. For example, if an individual wants to improve his or her current self-management of diabetes, s/he could obtain information regarding the best strategies of managing the condition from social support structures such as family members. When a person gains knowledge and skills regarding a particular disease from his or her immediate social network, there is a high likelihood that s/he will have improved health outcome.

Additionally, a person can learn healthy behaviors from his or her social networks. For instance, a person who is overweight can adopt healthy behavior such as eating a balanced diet and physical exercise. In this case, social support act as a role model for individuals who would like to adopt healthy behaviors. For instance, a person is highly likely to embrace healthy behaviors if his or her immediate family members and friends practice the same act.

On the other hand, social network theory emphasizes that a person's health behavior is less likely to be attributed to his or her attributes but more likely to his or her immediate social network such as friends and supportive colleagues in the workplace. This implies that the people adopt good health behaviors by observing what those s/he considers worthwhile are doing. That is, a person gets healthcare-related information from other people with a personal relationship with him or her. Therefore, in social network theory, the relationship among social networks is mutually beneficial because apart from getting health tips from his or her immediate environment, a person provides health tips to others. Lastly, social network theory explains that health behaviors are products of interaction among people within the same social group.

The Impact of Economic Concerns on the Value of Theory

One of the economic issues that may affect the value of social support theory for intervention development is decreased public funding. For instance, when a government cuts public health awareness budget, there is a high likelihood that people will have inadequate knowledge and skills regarding the causes of a particular disease, prevention, and treatment (Feinberg, 2016). Additionally, inadequate funding on health-related matters such as public health education, the population is likely to show a low level of health literacy (Das, Mia, Hanifi, Hoque, & Bhuiya, 2017; Logan et al., 2015).

When health literacy is low, people in the same social network will not obtain health-related benefits from each other. Because of this, such a group of individuals is highly likely to show poor health behaviors and high prevalence of diseases. Therefore, it can be concluded that social support theory can only be useful as a tool for intervention development if there is adequate funding aimed at improving people's knowledge, skills, and behavior about a particular health issue.

Lastly, the reduced workforce can affect the use of social network theory as a tool for intervention development. For instance, when health professionals are not enough, the community members will not have their concerns addressed at the right time. That is, a decreased workforce is associated with poor health outcomes (Nguyen, Mirzoev, & Le, 2016). On the other hand, increased workforce leads to improved health-related issues, such as decreased under-five mortality (Liang, Macinko, Yue, & Meng, 2019). Lastly, when there limited availability of medical workforce, healthcare-seeking reduced (Jin, Zhu, Yuan, & Meng, 2017).


Das, S., Mia, M. N., Hanifi, S. M. A., Hoque, S., & Bhuiya, A. (2017). Health literacy in a community with low levels of education: Findings from Chakaria, a rural area of Bangladesh. BMC Public Health, 17(1), 1-10.

Feinberg, I. (2016). Health literacy in high-risk populations. Retrieved from

Galvan, F. H., Davis, E. M., Banks, D., & Bing, E. G. (2008). Hiv stigma and social support among African Americans. AIDS Patient Care and STDs, 22(5), 423-436.

Hansen, D. L., Shneiderman, B., Smith, M. A., & Himelboim, I. (2020). Chapter 3 - Social network analysis: Measuring, mapping, and modeling collections of connections. In D. L. Hansen, B. Shneiderman, M. A. Smith, & I. Himelboim (Eds.), Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL (Second Edition) (pp. 31-51). Morgan Kaufmann.

Jin, Y., Zhu, W., Yuan, B., & Meng, Q. (2017). Impact of health workforce availability on health care seeking behavior of patients with diabetes mellitus in China. International Journal for Equity in Health, 16(80), 1-10.

Kim, W., Kreps, G. L., & Shin, C.-N. (2015). The role of social support and social networks in health information-seeking behavior among Korean Americans: A qualitative study. International Journal for Equity in Health, 14(1), 1-10.

Liang, S., Macinko, J., Yue, D., & Meng, Q. (2019). The impact of the health care workforce on under-five mortality in rural China. Human Resources for Health, 17(21), 1-13.

Liu, W., Sidhu, A., Beacom, A. M., & Valente, T. W. (2017). Social network theory. In the International Encyclopedia of Media Effects (pp. 1-12). American Cancer Society.

Logan, R. A., Wong, W. F., Villaire, M., Daus, G., Parnell, T. A., Willis, E., & Paasche-Orlow, M. K. (2015). Health literacy: A necessary element for achieving health equity. Retrieved from

Nguyen, M. P., Mirzoev, T., & Le, T. M. (2016). Contribution of the health workforce to health outcomes: Empirical evidence from Vietnam. Human Resources for Health, 14(1), 1-11.

Cite this page

Free Essay: Description of Two Theories That Have the Greatest Influence on Social Networks. (2023, Mar 28). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism