Friends and neighbors: an active social network for adult and elderly hypertensive individuals

The family network is fundamental in people's lives, but when it is inefficient, friends play an essential role in providing physical and mental support. The objective of this study was to understand how the network represented by the friends and neighbors of hypertensive adult and elderly individual works. This qualitative study was performed with 20 individuals with ages between 50 and 80 years, living in Maringá - Paraná. Results showed that the time of residence affects the attachment between the hypertensive individual and his/her neighbors and pointed at the resources and locations they used to contact friends. Friendships are an important source of support, and this attachment may in fact be stronger than kinship ties. We reinforce the need for health care professionals to value friendship networks, as it serves as a strategy for a more effective health care, with contemplates the subject as a whole.

Hypertension; Social support; Friends; Community networks; Nursing

Universidade de São Paulo, Escola de Enfermagem Av. Dr. Enéas de Carvalho Aguiar, 419 , 05403-000 São Paulo - SP/ Brasil, Tel./Fax: (55 11) 3061-7553, - São Paulo - SP - Brazil