Using Social Support to Improve Performance

Topic(s): development
Publication: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (2009)
Article: An Intervention to Increase Social Support and Improve Performance
Authors: P. Freeman, T. Rees, L. Hardy
Reviewed by: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

Can social support improve performance? According to Rees and Hardy, the four types of social support are emotional support, which refers to listening and talking things through; esteem support, such as emphasizing the positives; informational support, which includes advice and feedback; and tangible support, such as money and resources.

In investigating the relationship between social support and performance, Freeman, Rees, and Hardy tested the efficacy of increased social support on the performance of three golfers. It was found that social support increased the performance of all of the golfers. Though this study had a very small sample size, the results may still be helpful. For example, if employers ask how their employees are doing, congratulate them after their successes, and encourage them after their failures, they may see an increase in the performance of their department and ultimately the company’s bottom line.


Freeman, P., Rees, T., & Hardy, L. (2009). An intervention to increase social support and improve performance. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 21(2), 186-200.

Image credit: istockphoto/shironosov