Introduction. The current study attempts to explore the contribution of participation in closed Internet communities for people with mental illnesses as a channel for forming social relationships. Method. A case study approach was adopted: the research population consisted of discussions that took place in two virtual communities for people with mental illnesses in Israel. Analysis. Content analyses were carried out to revel the types of support that exchange between the participants in the discourse at the communities. Results. There is no conclusive answer to the question as to whether social links that exist in computer mediated communication channels can fill people's diverse social needs. Results showed that many people try to form social relationships by means of participation in computer-mediated support communities. However, the large majority of participants in this discourse do so only in the context of crises they experience because of the mental disorder. A number of kinds of expressions of social support and empathetic processes were found in the virtual discourse and his nature is different from empathetic processes that exist in face-to-face communication. Conclusions. Additional research needs to be done to suit the virtual communication channels to the social needs of socially excluded populations.
|State||Published - 1 Mar 2016|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© The authors, 2016.