Does activity level in online support groups for distressed adolescents determine emotional relief

Azy Barak, Michal Dolev-Cohen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Online support groups are widely used for numerous types of distress areas, but relatively little has been empirically examined to date in regard to their effectiveness in providing emotional relief to participants as claimed. The current study aimed at testing a possible moderator affecting participants' emotional relief when using an online support group: the degree of active involvement. This subject was explored by investigating the number of main and response messages that 20 randomly selected participants posted, as well as the number of replies they received, over the course of three months of participation in an open, online support group intended for suicidal and severely distressed adolescents. Level of distress was measured by a thematic analysis of main messages posted by the participants that was conducted by three pre-trained, expert judges. Results revealed that although the level of participants’ distress did not change over time, on the average, it was significantly correlated with activity level: the higher the number of posts and replies, the lower the level of distress in following months. Implications of these findings for the application and facilitation of online support groups are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)186-190
    Number of pages5
    JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 1 Sep 2006

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy


    • Internet
    • Support groups
    • adolescents
    • emotional relief
    • online counseling

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Psychology
    • Applied Psychology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health


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