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They support, so we talk: the effects of other users on self-disclosure on social networking sites

Cheng-Yu Lin (Department of Public Administration and Management, National University of Tainan, Tainan, Taiwan)
En-Yi Chou (Department of Information Management, National Central University, Taoyuan, Taiwan)
Heng-Chiang Huang (Department of International Business, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Article publication date: 14 July 2020

Issue publication date: 24 May 2021




Social networking sites (SNSs) have significantly influenced people's lives and changed their behavior. Although previous research has explored self-disclosure in virtual communities, little is known about the impact of other users, particularly their online social support, on self-disclosure. The aim of this study is to explore how online social support dimensions (i.e., emotional, informational, esteem, instrumental and network support) influence people's self-disclosure, which in turn affects their commitment to SNSs.


Based on social exchange theory, this study proposes a research model that explores the role of other users on self-disclosure. This study collects data from a sample of 558 respondents and applies the structural equation modeling technique to test the research model.


The findings show that users are motivated to disclose information and commit to a specific SNS because of the supportive climate. Results also show that self-disclosure mediates the effect of online social support on users' commitment to SNSs.


This study focuses on the influence of other users' roles on self-disclosure on SNSs, extending the application of social exchange theory.



Lin, C.-Y., Chou, E.-Y. and Huang, H.-C. (2021), "They support, so we talk: the effects of other users on self-disclosure on social networking sites", Information Technology & People, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 1039-1064.



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