Convoy Theory of Social Networks
In the social convoy model of social relations, individuals go through life embedded in a personal network of individuals from whom they give and receive social support. Circles are used to separate people in terms of the closeness of their relationship with an individual. In the health care setting, it can be used by healthcare professionals to assess the effects of social isolation on a patient’s health. Patient that have strong support networks tend live happier and healthier lives. Support networks may be informal e.g. family, friends, loved-ones, etc., or, formal e.g. healthcare professionals, informal carers, charity organizations, etc. The model can be used by healthcare professionals to assess the ability of an individual to cope with their illness, and to evaluate the important of healthcare professionals to a patient’s social network. Changes that occur over time can be explored to see the effects of ill health on the patient’s social network, as networks may grow in some areas e.g. due to contact with health services, and shrink in others.