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An Invisible Leverage in the Adoption of Online Social Support Community
Unformatted Document Text:  Running Head: Invisible Leverage in Adoption of Online Social Support Community 23 There was no significant difference found in network size and network threshold by illness type (Hypotheses 1 and 3). It seems that the result in Hypothesis 1 was carried over to Hypothesis 3. This might be due to the limitation in the study population list. The present study derived its study population list only from public illness communities at Yahoo. Given the nature of illnesses, this public nature might have influenced participants’ adoption in mental illness communities. It can be inferred that those with mental illnesses prefer members-only to public communities more than those with physical illnesses. Members-only communities may provide them with a sense of security so that they can participate more actively and free from fear of privacy invasion. The present study contributes to the current state of research on OSSC in four ways. First, it moved the research focus from an individual level to a structure level, which is, a community- level. The unit of analysis of the present study was community. Different level of unit of analysis allows researchers to see different perspectives to the same phenomenon and enable them to better understand the phenomenon of interest. Most previous studies have focused on individual level factors that affect OSSC participation or satisfaction. The present study provides deeper understanding about and insights to OSSCs by employing community as its unit of analysis. Second, the present study shifted the research focus from comparisons between online and off-line social support seeking to comparisons within online social support seeking. The benefit of this shift lies in meaningful differences within online social support seeking that might have remained hidden in previous studies that compare between online and off-line social support seeking. The present study identified network size as an important factor that influences OSSC adoption. Third, the present study contributed to the general social support network research, in that, it is the first quantitative effort to investigate the nature of social support networks. The social network analysis has been employed in analyzing one or a small number of groups at once. Even though various statistical packages are used to tease out network patterns, the nature of analysis remains qualitative because it aims at describing each network as much as possible rather than figuring out differences in network patterns across a large number of groups. Furthermore, traditional off-line social support networks exist in their own unique settings. Therefore, quantitative comparisons among different groups based on statistical tests are almost impossible

Authors: Yun, Haejin., Park, Songyi. and Kim, Hee-Jung.
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Running Head: Invisible Leverage in Adoption of Online Social Support Community
23
There was no significant difference found in network size and network threshold by
illness type (Hypotheses 1 and 3). It seems that the result in Hypothesis 1 was carried over to
Hypothesis 3. This might be due to the limitation in the study population list. The present study
derived its study population list only from public illness communities at Yahoo. Given the
nature of illnesses, this public nature might have influenced participants’ adoption in mental
illness communities. It can be inferred that those with mental illnesses prefer members-only to
public communities more than those with physical illnesses. Members-only communities may
provide them with a sense of security so that they can participate more actively and free from
fear of privacy invasion.
The present study contributes to the current state of research on OSSC in four ways. First,
it moved the research focus from an individual level to a structure level, which is, a community-
level. The unit of analysis of the present study was community. Different level of unit of
analysis allows researchers to see different perspectives to the same phenomenon and enable
them to better understand the phenomenon of interest. Most previous studies have focused on
individual level factors that affect OSSC participation or satisfaction. The present study provides
deeper understanding about and insights to OSSCs by employing community as its unit of
analysis.
Second, the present study shifted the research focus from comparisons between online
and off-line social support seeking to comparisons within online social support seeking. The
benefit of this shift lies in meaningful differences within online social support seeking that might
have remained hidden in previous studies that compare between online and off-line social
support seeking. The present study identified network size as an important factor that influences
OSSC adoption.
Third, the present study contributed to the general social support network research, in that,
it is the first quantitative effort to investigate the nature of social support networks. The social
network analysis has been employed in analyzing one or a small number of groups at once. Even
though various statistical packages are used to tease out network patterns, the nature of analysis
remains qualitative because it aims at describing each network as much as possible rather than
figuring out differences in network patterns across a large number of groups. Furthermore,
traditional off-line social support networks exist in their own unique settings. Therefore,
quantitative comparisons among different groups based on statistical tests are almost impossible


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