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“I Can Air My Feelings Instead of Eating Them”: Blogging as Social Support for the Morbidly Obese

by Amy Aldridge Sanford
Communication Studies ()

Abstract

The morbidly obese, defined as people who are 100 pounds or more overweight, are the fastest growing population among the obese. They often live with health risks, face discrimination, and lack traditional social support. This article explores the use of weight loss blogs by the morbidly obese (N = 50) and argues that blogging provides invaluable computer-mediated social support for them in four ways: (a) it allows for empathy; (b) it ensures accountability to others; (c) it provides venting and advice seeking; and (d) it shares validation of the weight loss experience. Additionally, the article argues that social support scholars must move beyond chat rooms and message boards as media and explore more media-rich environments such as blogging and social networks. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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