The Implications of Stigma and Anonymity for Self-Disclosure in Health Blogs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

The reported study examines the implications of anonymity and stigma in the form of illness-related embarrassment for self-disclosure in the context of health blogging. Drawing from theorizing about anonymous communication and stigma, anonymity is argued to be strategically used by individuals who are embarrassed by their illness and to moderate the relationship between embarrassment and self-disclosure. Data from 114 individuals who blog about their experiences coping with a health condition were examined to test study hypotheses. Illness-related embarrassment was positively associated with anonymity. Additionally, anonymity moderated the relationship between embarrassment and self-disclosure. Among bloggers with relatively higher levels of anonymity, illness-related embarrassment was positively associated with self-disclosure. The results suggest that anonymity is strategically used and fosters self-disclosure among individuals who are embarrassed by their illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Communication
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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