The Mediating Role of Group Dynamics in Shaping Received Social Support from Active and Passive Use in Online Health Communities
Exchanging social support on online health communities (OHCs) can be beneficial to people's health, but the OHC characteristics that promote environments in which users feel socially supported are understudied. We develop a model that examines the mediating influence of OHC cohesiveness, altruism, and universality on the relationships between active and passive use and received OHC social support. Our findings indicate that social support can be derived from both active and passive use of the OHC. Although active use can directly stimulate received OHC social support, the relationship between passive use and social support is fully mediated by OHC group dynamics.