Year of Publication

2013

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Communication and Information

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Zixue Tai

Abstract

This study explores how people with medical concerns seek and perceive social support via Weibo—a social network site in China. The study conducts both a content analysis and an in-depth interview for a comprehensive understanding of the nature of social support on Weibo. Altogether 2548 postings and replies from four Weibo support groups—the Breast Cancer Group, the Arthritis Group, Baby Eczema Group and Children’s Health Group—were categorized into 9 types with a deductive thematic analysis; twenty participants from these four Weibo groups were recruited in the in-depth interview to explore how people seek and perceive social support from Weibo. Weibo stands out as a platform for people to exchange social support for its convenience, multiple functions, and strong ability to connect each other. Though there are some disadvantages of Weibo social support identified by Weibo users, they can, to some extent, be avoided and reduced under appropriate administration.

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