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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 7 proposes two aspects of online social support as relative advantages in OSSC participants’ adoption decision: types of social support exchanged and network characteristics. These two aspects are reflected in two major approaches to the study of social support. The first approach aims at categorizing types of social support online as well as in general. The second approach, social network analysis, focuses on types of network ties or network structures. Types of Social Support Researchers have imported different classifications of social support in general to the study of online social support. Major interests have been to describe what type of social support is exchanged to what extent. Muncer et al. (2000) used Cohen and Wills’ (1985) typology of social support. Cohen and Wills’ typology lists social companionship, informational support, esteem support, and instrumental support. Social companionship was operationalized as messages that indicated a ’sense of belonging’ such as social chit-chat and general banter. Any posting about medication and related scientific research was coded as informational support. Esteem support was operationalized as postings that provided fellow members with emotional support and encouragement in general as well as in specific crisis events. Any message that mentioned the provision of tangible or material support (goods or services) was coded as instrumental support. Brennan, Moore and Smyth (1992) employed Antonucci and Jackson’s definitions (as cited in Brennan, Moore, & Smyth, 1992) of social support in their study of Alzheimer’s disease caregivers. Antonucci and Jackson defined social support as interpersonal transactions, and distinguished three aspects of social support: affect, affirmation, and aid. Affect involves such positive feelings as liking, loving, admiration, and respect. Affirmation includes agreement and acknowledgement of appropriateness of action, statement, or point of view. Aid comprises information, advice, money, things, and entitlement. Braithwaite, Waldron and Finn (1999) used Cutrona and Suhr’s (1992) categorization in the study of social support for people with disabilities. Cutrona and Suhr provided thirty-three sub-categories of support-intended behaviors under five supra-categories: information support, tangible assistance, network support, esteem support, and emotional support. Information support includes messages that convey instructions to reduce uncertainty. Tangible assistance involves messages that offer to take concrete physical action in support of the recipient.

Authors: Yun, Haejin., Park, Songyi. and Kim, Hee-Jung.
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Running Head: Invisible Leverage in Adoption of Online Social Support Community
7
proposes two aspects of online social support as relative advantages in OSSC participants’
adoption decision: types of social support exchanged and network characteristics. These two
aspects are reflected in two major approaches to the study of social support. The first approach
aims at categorizing types of social support online as well as in general. The second approach,
social network analysis, focuses on types of network ties or network structures.
Types of Social Support
Researchers have imported different classifications of social support in general to the
study of online social support. Major interests have been to describe what type of social support
is exchanged to what extent. Muncer et al. (2000) used Cohen and Wills’ (1985) typology of
social support. Cohen and Wills’ typology lists social companionship, informational support,
esteem support, and instrumental support. Social companionship was operationalized as
messages that indicated a ’sense of belonging’ such as social chit-chat and general banter. Any
posting about medication and related scientific research was coded as informational support.
Esteem support was operationalized as postings that provided fellow members with emotional
support and encouragement in general as well as in specific crisis events. Any message that
mentioned the provision of tangible or material support (goods or services) was coded as
instrumental support.
Brennan, Moore and Smyth (1992) employed Antonucci and Jackson’s definitions (as
cited in Brennan, Moore, & Smyth, 1992) of social support in their study of Alzheimer’s disease
caregivers. Antonucci and Jackson defined social support as interpersonal transactions, and
distinguished three aspects of social support: affect, affirmation, and aid. Affect involves such
positive feelings as liking, loving, admiration, and respect. Affirmation includes agreement and
acknowledgement of appropriateness of action, statement, or point of view. Aid comprises
information, advice, money, things, and entitlement.
Braithwaite, Waldron and Finn (1999) used Cutrona and Suhr’s (1992) categorization in
the study of social support for people with disabilities. Cutrona and Suhr provided thirty-three
sub-categories of support-intended behaviors under five supra-categories: information support,
tangible assistance, network support, esteem support, and emotional support. Information
support includes messages that convey instructions to reduce uncertainty. Tangible assistance
involves messages that offer to take concrete physical action in support of the recipient.


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