Prior research indicates that social support allows individuals to have additional skills to handle stresses, enhance self-esteem, and increase psychological well-being. Online social networks have become an emerging and important source of social support. However, little research has been done to explore how IT usage may improve the well-being and life quality of individuals, especially patients. Little research has been done to empirically examine individuals’ loyalty toward online social groups from the perspective of social support. This study aims to develop an integrated research model to the impact of online social support on psychological well-being and group identification, and individuals’ subsequent loyalty toward online social groups. Online social support group was operationalized as a second-order construct with four components: informational, emotional, esteem, and network supports. Data collected from 537 users of online support groups for mothers in Taiwan provide strong support for the research model. The results indicate that online social support is positively associated with psychological well-being and group identification, which in turn have a positive effect on moms’ loyalty toward online social groups. Implications for theory and practice and suggestions for future research are provided.
Lin, Tung-Ching; Hsu, Jack Shih-Chieh; Cheng, Hsiang-Lan; and Chiu, Chao-Min, "Exploring Individuals’ Loyalty To Online Support Groups From the Perspective Of Social Support" (2012). PACIS 2012 Proceedings. 103.