Instrumental Support: Definition & Examples

Instrumental Support: Definition & Examples
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  • 0:00 What Is Instrumental Support?
  • 1:32 Examples of…
  • 2:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Did you know that every time you take a friend somewhere, you are providing instrumental support? Learn more about instrumental support from examples, and test your knowledge with a quiz.

What Is Instrumental Support?

Meet Jane. Jane is a 42-year-old woman who is currently recovering from surgery. Luckily, she is receiving a lot of help from her friends and loved ones while she recovers. Jane's doctor discussed the recovery process with her in detail before she was released from the hospital. Her daughter flew in from another city to take Jane to her follow-up appointments, run errands, and take care of their dog. Jane's neighbors and best friend have volunteered to cook Jane food and clean her house while she is recovering. Her daughter and friends also make sure to give her lots of hugs and encouraging words whenever Jane is feeling down.

All of the help that Jane is receiving from her friends and loved ones is called social support. Social support describes all of the support or assistance that we receive from other people. There are three categories of social support:

  1. Emotional, which is assistance from others that makes us feel loved
  2. Informational, or providing someone with beneficial information
  3. Instrumental, or offering a helping hand

Instrumental support refers to assistance received from others that is tangible. Instrumental support is comprised of the things that others physically do or provide in order to assist you. Both Jane's daughter and friends lend her a hand while Jane is in recovery. Jane's daughter provided her with instrumental support by taking her places, running errands, and taking care of her dog. Jane's friends provided instrumental support by cooking her food and cleaning her house.

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