Beyond hearing: Where real-world and online support meet
A random sample survey of an online self-help group for people with hearing loss was conducted. Two factors predicted active participation in the group: a lack of real-world social support and being comparatively effective (having less disability, coping more effectively, and using real-world professional services). More active participation in the group was associated with more benefits from the group and stronger reports of community orientation. The authors also found evidence that integration of online and real-world support (if it existed) benefited participants. That is, if supportive family and friends in the real world shared the online group with participants, participants reported above average benefits, whereas if supportive family and friends were uninvolved in the online group, participants reported below average benefits.
Cummings, JN; Sproull, L; Kiesler, SB
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