The Implications of Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) for Social Support Message Processing and Outcomes: When and Why Are the Effects of Support Messages Strengthened During CMC?

Stephen A Rains, Steven R. Brunner, Chelsie Akers, Corey A. Pavlich, Eric Tsetsi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Widespread use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) for exchanging social support has raised questions about the support-related implications of CMC. This study drew from the dual-process theory of supportive message outcomes and examined the implications of CMC for support message processing and outcomes. We hypothesized that the reduced social cues in CMC would encourage greater elaboration on support message content and lead support messages to have a greater impact than in face-to-face interaction. The results of the experiment showed that, although the support message was held constant, participants in the CMC condition reported the strongest motivation to receive support, engaged in the greatest level of message elaboration, and experienced the most beneficial changes in worry and uncertainty discrepancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-576
Number of pages24
JournalHuman Communication Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2016



  • Computer-Mediated Communication
  • Dual-Process Theory of Supportive Message Outcomes
  • Social Support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language

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