Social support exchanges in a social media community for people living with HIV/AIDS in China

Liang Chen, Jingyuan SHI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In recent years, social media has become an important source of social support. People living with HIV/AIDS in China created an online support group (the HIV/AIDS Weibo Group) on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, in January 2011. The current study examined how social support transmitted in this social media community. First, messages over five successive weeks (2 May 2011 to 13 June 2011) were randomly selected from the HIV/AIDS Weibo Group on Weibo. Next, we employed social network analysis to map the HIV/AIDS Weibo Group’s structure and to measure the study variables. After that, a multivariate analysis of variance was applied to examine the influence of frequency of contact and reciprocity on informational and emotional social support exchanged in each dyad. The results revealed that pairs with a high level of contact frequency or reciprocity exchanged more informational support than do pairs with a low level of contact frequency or reciprocity. Moreover, dyadic partners with high frequency of contact exchanged a larger amount of emotional support than those with a low level frequency of contact; but strongly reciprocal dyads did not exchange significantly more emotional social support than their counterparts with a low level of reciprocity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-696
JournalAIDS Care: Psychological and Socio-medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Volume27
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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