Family & Community Support >> Family & Community Support Archive >> Social Support >> Race, Gender, Country of Birth, Language

Social support was relatively low among adults who were not born in the U.S. and for whom English was not their first language.

The term social support refers to the physical and emotional comfort, and the practical resources, that we receive from family, friends, co-workers, and others. Having someone to count on can buffer the effects of stressful life events.

King County adults were asked 9 questions about how often they got specific types of social support.  Responses ranged from 1 (“none of the time”) to 5 (“all of the time”). Answers to the 9 questions were added to create a social support score with a possible range from 9 to 45.  The King County average score was 38.5.

  • Adults born in the U.S. had higher social support scores than those born in other countries.
  • Adults whose primary language was English reported higher social support than those whose first language was not English.
  • Whites had higher social support scores than people of color.
  • Women reported higher levels of social support than men.
  • There were no differences in social support by age or Hispanic ethnicity.

"I do not have parents and relatives who live in America to help me. But I have great friends and families from church that support me.… In China, if you are poor your parents or relative would help you. Thank God, church gives me many friends that support me. My religion helps me to have positive attitude, be happy with what I have, have a happy life."
Mother of 17-month-old born prematurely with multiple disabilities; 2-parent family and child live in Seattle.