Tracking the nature and trajectory of social support in Facebook mutual aid groups during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Journal article


Ntontis, Evangelos, Fernandes-Jesus, Maria, Mao, Guanlan, Dines, Tom, Kane, Jazmin, Karakaya, Joshua, Perach, Rotem, Cocking, Chris, McTague, Michael, Schwarz, Anna, Semlyen, Joanna and Drury, John 2022. Tracking the nature and trajectory of social support in Facebook mutual aid groups during the COVID-19 pandemic. International journal of disaster risk reduction : IJDRR. 76, p. 103043. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2022.103043
AuthorsNtontis, Evangelos, Fernandes-Jesus, Maria, Mao, Guanlan, Dines, Tom, Kane, Jazmin, Karakaya, Joshua, Perach, Rotem, Cocking, Chris, McTague, Michael, Schwarz, Anna, Semlyen, Joanna and Drury, John
AbstractAt the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of mutual aid groups were established on social media and operated as platforms through which people could offer or request social support. Considering the importance of Facebook mutual aid groups during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom but also the lack of empirical research regarding the trajectories and types of social support rendered available through the groups, our aims in this paper are threefold; first, to examine the trajectory of social support-related activity during the period between March-December 2020; second, to compare offers and requests of support during the peaks of the first and second waves; third to provide a rich analysis of the types of social support that were offered or requested through the online mutual aid groups. Quantitative findings suggest that online social support activity declined soon after the peak of the first pandemic wave and, at least in Facebook mutual aid groups, did not reach the levels observed during the first wave. Also, the number of offers of support during the first wave was higher compared to offers during the second wave, and similar was the case for requests for support. Additionally, offers for support were higher compared to requests for support during both the first and second waves. Finally, qualitative analysis showed that people used the Facebook mutual aid groups to offer and request various types of practical, emotional, and informational support. Limitations as well as implications of our study are considered. [Abstract copyright: © 2022 The Authors.]
KeywordsSocial support; COVID-19; Community solidarity; Mutual aid; Social media; Online groups
Year2022
JournalInternational journal of disaster risk reduction : IJDRR
Journal citation76, p. 103043
PublisherElsevier
ISSN2212-4209
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2022.103043
Official URLhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221242092200262X
Funder UKRI grant (ES/V005383/1)
Publication dates
Online14 May 2022
Print15 Jun 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted10 May 2022
Deposited08 Jun 2022
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