The Social Dimension of Blogging about Health: Health Blogging, Social Support, and Well-being

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Abstract:

The study reported here explored the social dimension of health-related blogs by examining blogging as a means to marshal social support and, as a result, achieve some of the health benefits associated with supportive communication. A total of 121 individuals who author a blog dedicated to their experience living with a specific health condition completed the study questionnaire. The number of blog posts made by respondents and proportion of posts with reader comments were positively associated with perceived social support from blog readers. The relationship between blog reader support and two outcomes related to well-being depended upon the support available in bloggers' strong-tie relationships with family and friends. Consistent with the social compensation (i.e., “poor get richer”) perspective, blog reader support was negatively associated with loneliness and positively associated with personal growth when support in strong-tie relationships was relatively lacking.

Keywords: Blog; Communication Technology; Health Communication; Social Support

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03637751.2011.618142

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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