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Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2011 Apr;14(4):247-51. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2010.0163. Epub 2010 Dec 16.

Peer counseling in an online chat service: a content analysis of social support.

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Department of Child Development and Education, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


In a recently launched one-on-one chat service for young people with psychosocial problems, young peer volunteers (ages 16-23) have a leading role in the conversations, comparable to the role of counselors in web-based and telephone-based child help-line services. A content analysis of the chat conversations showed that the contribution of the peer counselors in the confidential chat sessions satisfied the various quality criteria of the service. Moreover, the peer counselors offered the young people who visited the site varied types of social support. The variety of types of social support appeared a stronger predictor of the quality ratings than the length of the conversation or the quantity (instead of variety) of social support, which emphasizes the importance of multidimensional social support in online conversations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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