No one is rich eugh to do without a neighbor. Traditional Danish Proverb This bit of Danish folk wisdom expresses an idea underlying much of the current thinking about social support. While the clinical literature has for a long time recognized the deleterious effects of unwholesome social relationships, only more recently has the focus broadened to include the positive side of social interaction, those interpersonal ties that are desired, rewarding, and protective. This book contains theoretical and research contributions by a group of scholars who are charting this side of the social spectrum. Evidence is increasing that maladaptive ways of thinking and behaving occur disproportionately among people with few social supports. Rather than sapping self-reliance, strong ties with others particularly family members seem to encourage it. Reliance on others and self-reliance are t only compatible but complementary to one ather. While the mechanism by which an intimate relationship is protective has yet to be worked out, the following factors seem to be involved: intimacy, social integration through shared concerns, reassurance of worth, the opportunity to be nurtured by others, a sense of reliable alliance, and guidance. The major advance that is taking place in the literature on social support is that reliance is being -placed less on anecdotal and clinical evidence and more on empirical inquiry. The chapters of this book reflect this important development and identify the frontiers that are currently being explored.