Facebooking for health: An examination into the solicitation and effects of health-related social support on social networking sites

Hyun Jung Oh, Carolyn Lauckner, Jan Boehmer, Ryan Fewins-Bliss, Kang Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Scopus citations


The current study investigates people's use of social networking sites for health purposes and its impact on their perception of social support and their health self-efficacy. A structural model was fitted to test hypothesized relationships between having a health concern, seeking online health information, seeking health-related social support on Facebook, perceived social support from Facebook friends, and health-related self-efficacy. The study also looks at the relative significance of social support dimensions including: emotional, informational, tangible, and esteem dimensions. An analysis of 291 respondents revealed a positive relationship between having health concerns and seeking health-related social support. Seeking support was significantly associated with all four social support dimensions. Among the four support dimensions, emotional support was the only significant predictor of health self-efficacy. Also, emotional support was the dimension that was most prevalent in Facebook contexts. Health information seeking was also positively associated with health self-efficacy but was not significantly related to having a health concern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2072-2080
Number of pages9
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 14 2013



  • Facebook
  • Health self-efficacy
  • Health-related social support
  • Online information seeking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)

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