Social Networking in Online Support Groups for Health: How Online Social Networking Benefits Patients

  • Chung J
  • 1


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • N/A


    Citations of this article.


An increasing number of online support groups ({OSGs)} have embraced the features of social networking. So far, little is known about how patients use and benefit from these features. By implementing the uses-and-gratifications framework, the author conducted an online survey with current users of {OSGs} to examine associations among motivation, use of specific features of {OSG}, and support outcomes. Findings suggest that {OSG} users make selective use of varied features depending on their needs, and that perceptions of receiving emotional and informational support are associated more with the use of some features than others. For example, those with strong motivation for social interaction use diverse features of {OSG} and make one-to-one connections with other users by friending. In contrast, those with strong motivation for information seeking limit their use primarily to discussion boards. Results also show that online social networking features, such as friending and sharing of personal stories on blogs, are helpful in satisfying the need for emotional support. The present study sheds light on online social networking features in the context of health-related {OSGs} and provides practical lessons on how to improve the capacity of {OSGs} to serve the needs of their users.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in


  • Jae Eun Chung

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free