Racial Differences in Social Support: Kin Versus Friends


Boston University School of Social Work, 264 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail: mlgrif@bu.edu


Social support was examined among 290 Black and White women recruited from the community. We hypothesized that (1) social support, adjusted for social class, would not vary by race and (2) social support would be related to well–being. Standardized measures were administered, examining support provided by friends versus kin separately. Multivariate models showed that Black women reported similar numbers of kin and fewer friends than Whites, while satisfaction with support did not vary by race. Measures of social support were generally associated with well–being. These findings question earlier reports that Black women have stronger kin support than White women, suggesting that clinicians should not assume that Blacks can rely on kin for social support.