Understanding the role of social media in online health: A global perspective on online social support

Roderick Lamar Lee, Lynette M. Kvasny


Around the globe, people are increasingly using social media for the provision of online social support. Online social support may be especially relevant for parents who have children that are afflicted with rare chronic diseases such as MECP2 Duplication Syndrome. Despite increasing evidence that online social support enhances a person’s psychological well-being, there is little research that seeks to understand how and why various forms of social media facilitate social support. This study develops a theoretical framework from the existing psychosocial and media theories that describes the relationship between social media and social support. This paper concludes with implications for health information systems design.


Social Support; Social Media; User Generated Content; Chronic Disease

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v19i1.4048

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