7. Locating Computer-Mediated Social Support Within Online Communication Environments (Andrew C. High / Denise H. Solomon)
Locating Computer-Mediated Social Support within Online Communication Environments
Andrew C. High
Denise H. Solomon
Social support encompasses the comfort, assistance, and reassurance that people experience as a function of social relationships. Social support enables people to cope with a multitude of personal, physical, social, or mental stressors and experience important physical and psychological benefits (i.e., Burleson & MacGeorge, 2002; Cohen & Wills, 1985; Cunningham & Barbee, 2000). To date, the communication of social support has been predominantly studied as an activity that unfolds in face-to-face (FtF) interaction. Although FtF communication is an important source of social support, this focus neglects the fact that social interaction unfolds in a variety of communication modalities and mediated discourse may even be preferred or required in some circumstances (Walther & Parks, 2002). In this chapter, we consider computer-mediated communication (CMC) as a means of seeking and receiving social support.
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