The role of offering support online in promoting Well-being and action to support disadvantaged others

by Cassandra Barnes

Institution: Murdoch University
Year: 2014
Record ID: 1059798
Full text PDF: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/24113/


People are increasingly interacting online. However, research has tended to focus on the detrimental outcomes of online activity (e.g., cyberbullying, ostracism). This thesis considers the positive psychological outcomes that may flow to people who offer support to disadvantaged others online. Specifically, I test the hypothesis that creating and sharing online messages of support (to Rwandan Genocide survivors) will promote well-being and solidarity-based collective action. I predict that these outcomes will be mediated by hope and efficacy, and develop a distinction between personal processes leading to well-being, and collective processes leading to solidarity-based collective action. The research (n=77) compared the effects of a mere information control with watching a message of hope then creating a message of support. The results of the experimental design did not produce the predicted effects. However, tests of the process involving the measured variables showed results consistent with hypotheses. Results provide an intriguing instantiation of how the strategic use of online interactive media to offer support can promote well-being, and bolster commitment to action to support disadvantaged others.