Weak-Tie Support Network Preference, Health-Related Stigma, and Health Outcomes in Computer-Mediated Support Groups

Kevin B. Wright, Stephen A. Rains

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although computer-mediated support groups have been argued to be beneficial for individuals coping with health-related stigma, few studies have explored how communication processes may moderate perceptions of stigma and health outcomes. Increasing our understanding of the relationships among these variables may help to inform social support interventions for individuals facing stigmatized health issues. Drawing from the optimal matching model, the reported study examined the relationships among strong-tie/weak-tie support network preference and health-related stigma for stress and depression among members of health-related computer-mediated support groups. The results indicated that health-related stigma was positively associated with preference for weak-tie support, and preference for weak-tie support was found to moderate the relationship between stigma and both stress and depression. The implications of the findings for the role of on-line weak-tie network supportive relationships in reducing stigma and its application to developing support-focused health interventions and segmenting potential intervention participants are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-324
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Applied Communication Research
Volume41
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013

Keywords

  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Health Communication
  • Health-Related Stigma
  • Support Network
  • Weak Tie

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics

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