Kim, Hanyoung (Grady Ph.D. Alum) & Han, Jeong-Yeob. (2023, May). “Unraveling The Effect of Social Media-Based Mental Health Campaigns During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Social Support Reception, Expression, and Coping Strategies” paper to be presented to Health Communication Division of the International Communication Association Annual Conference, Toronto, Canada.
Abstract: Recent research has accumulated evidence for the efficacy of participating in social media health campaigns. However, less is known about what communicative activities within social media campaigns are efficacious and in what ways such activities render positive outcomes. With this in mind, this study explored if and in what ways college students’ expression and reception of four different social support messages (i.e., informational, emotional, esteem, and network support) within a social media campaign produce health benefits. To do so, this study carried out a Facebook mental health campaign designed to help college students cope with psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results showed that campaign participants’ support expression and reception are vital in their use of adaptive coping; more importantly, each support type predicted differential cognitive and affective coping outcomes. Moreover, support reception tended to directly contribute to coping adoption, while support expression exhibited a buffering effect, such that participants’ improvement in coping over the course of the campaign was greater for those who expressed more supportive messages for similar others.