Individual and social benefits of online discussion forums
Computers in Human Behavior
Ordonez de Pablos, P
There has been much debate surrounding the potential benefits and costs of online interaction. The present research argues that engagement with online discussion forums can have underappreciated benefits for users’ well-being and engagement in offline civic action, and that identification with other online forum users plays a key role in this regard. Users of a variety of online discussion forums participated in this study. We hypothesized and found that participants who felt their expectations had been exceeded by the forum reported higher levels of forum identification. Identification, in turn, predicted their satisfaction with life and involvement in offline civic activities. Formal analyses confirmed that identification served as a mediator for both of these outcomes. Importantly, whether the forum concerned a stigmatized topic moderated certain of these relationships. Findings are discussed in the context of theoretical and applied implications.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
This is an open access article which is freely available in this repository and from the publisher web site under the CC BY license. Please cite the published version doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2015.03.067
Vol. 50, pp. 211–220
Place of publication