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Communication in health-related online social support groups/communities: a review of research on predictors of participation, applications of social support theory, and health outcomes

[journal article]

Wright, Kevin B.

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Abstract This article reviews literature on online support groups/communities for individuals facing health concerns. Specifically, the article focuses on predictors of online support group/community participation, major theoretical frameworks that have been applied to the study of online support groups/communities, and coping strategies and health outcomes for individuals facing health concerns. Finally, the article discusses the strengths and limitations of existing empirical studies in this area; presents a critique of the relative merits and limitations of a number of theoretical frameworks that have been applied to the study of online support groups/communities for people facing health concerns; and it provides an agenda for future communication research on health-related online support groups/communities.
Keywords online media; computer-mediated communication; self-help; social support; social network; virtual community; health; communication; coping behavior; health behavior
Classification Interactive, electronic Media; Impact Research, Recipient Research; Social Psychology; Health Policy
Free Keywords Social Support Theory; health outcomes
Document language English
Publication Year 2016
Page/Pages p. 65-87
Journal Review of Communication Research, 4 (2016)
ISSN 2255-4165
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-NonCommercial