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The social support an individual receives is a phenomenon of growing interest, since it influences his or her state of physical and mental health. Intimate relationships (family and friends) are the greatest source of social support and, among them, the partner plays a critical role in providing aid. In contrast to previous studies, this paper focuses on people in couples and analyzes whether there are international differences in the role of the partner as provider of support. The analysis applies Esping-Andersen’s classification of welfare regimes to study to whom one turns when one needs domestic, economic, or emotional help. Using data on 13 countries from the ISSP (2001), we confirm that people in more defamiliarized countries, where individuals are less dependent on the family (liberal and social democratic welfare regimes), turn more to elective relationships such as partner and friends, while people in conservative and Mediterranean countries seek support in parents, children and siblings.
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- Welfare States and Social Support: An International Comparison
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