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Information for researchers: Sub-sample Studies

Equity in social relationships and mental health amongst those with and without a disabling condition (Martin Dunbar)

The aim of this study was to examine the impact of giving and receiving social support on the mental health of disabled people and their carers.

The study involved interviews with 89 people with physical disabilities and 151 without physical disabilities from the 1930s and 1950s cohorts in the study localities in 1994.

Main findings were that receipt of social support could be associated with increased psychological distress because some individuals with a disabling illness have difficulties in reciprocating support.


Dunbar M, Ford G, Hunt K. Why is the receipt of social support associated with increased psychological distress? An examination of three hypotheses. Psychology & Health 1998; 13: 527-544.