The Online Social Support Scale: Exploratory Factor Analysis, Validation, and Effects on Psychosocial Outcomes
Nick, Elizabeth Ann
The Internet provides a new arena in which social support operates. After surveying the in-person literature, we created the Online Social Support Scale, which measures four kinds of social support online: esteem/emotional, social companionship, informational, and instrumental. Results of exploratory factor analysis and tests of internal consistency, discriminant validity, and convergent validity with 404 United States adults were acceptable. Further analyses including stressors suggest online social support has ameliorative effects similar to but smaller than in-person social support on self-esteem and depressive outcomes. The current study suggests online spaces may be important and impactful sources of social support, especially as use of these spaces continues to grow.