Weak-tie support network preference and perceived life stress among participants in health-related, computer-mediated support groups

Kevin B. Wright, Stephen A Rains, John Banas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The study reported here examines characteristics of weak-tie support network preference among members of health-related computer-mediated support groups. Drawing on weak-tie support network theory and socioemotional selectivity theory, participants' age and health condition were assessed as predictors of weak ties support network preference. Relationships between the dimensions of weak-tie support network preference and perceived stress also were evaluated. The results demonstrated that age was negatively associated with a preference for weak-tie support, and that participants not facing a terminal illness were more likely than those preferring a terminal illness to prefer weak-tie support. The objective utility and greater-perceived-risks dimensions of weak-tie support network preference were significant predictors of perceived stress. The implications of these findings for health communication interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)606-624
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2010

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Health
Circuit theory
Communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications

Cite this

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AB - The study reported here examines characteristics of weak-tie support network preference among members of health-related computer-mediated support groups. Drawing on weak-tie support network theory and socioemotional selectivity theory, participants' age and health condition were assessed as predictors of weak ties support network preference. Relationships between the dimensions of weak-tie support network preference and perceived stress also were evaluated. The results demonstrated that age was negatively associated with a preference for weak-tie support, and that participants not facing a terminal illness were more likely than those preferring a terminal illness to prefer weak-tie support. The objective utility and greater-perceived-risks dimensions of weak-tie support network preference were significant predictors of perceived stress. The implications of these findings for health communication interventions are discussed.

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