Social Enhancement and Compensation in Online Social Support among Cancer Patients: The Role of Social Network Properties

Stephen A. Rains, Jingbo Meng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although several researchers have reported evidence that the benefits of Internet use depend on users’ offline resources, the factors responsible for this phenomenon are not well understood. We examined a network-based explanation for social enhancement (i.e., rich get richer) and social compensation (i.e., poor get richer) in the context of received social support among adults coping with cancer. After first controlling for support received offline, we tested the role of two offline network properties in predicting support received online. The results were mostly consistent with social enhancement. Offline group affiliation was associated with greater levels of support received online. Additionally, significant indirect effects were observed from offline group affiliation to support received online through online group affiliation as well as from offline tie strength to support received online through online tie strength.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Communication
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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