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Self-disclosure and supportive interactions in stigmatized contexts on social media

All humans experience difficult situations with emotional dimensions in their lives. Some are concealable (e.g., HIV), some visible (e.g., race, certain physical disabilities) stigmatized identities, and many experience traumas (e.g., death of a loved one, sexual abuse) at some point.


People often need to socially share such events and emotions associated with them. However, many people inhibit socially and/or personally-perceived negative aspects of their lives and identities, and sometimes they suffer as a result of this inhibition. Other times, when they do disclose they might face negative consequences such as social rejections. On the other hand, there are potential benefits such as enactment of various forms of social support in disclosing such experiences and emotions associated with them.


My work addresses how, why, and in what socio-technical contexts these complex social performances (i.e., stigmatized and sensitive disclosures and responses to them) are enacted in computer-mediated environments. I use a variety of methods including interviews, analysis of online interactions and content, surveys, statistical methods, and design exploration.  

Collaborators: Munmun De ChoudhuryAndrea Forte, Oliver Haimson, Gillian Hayes, Daniel Herron,  Elise van den Hoven,  Melissa MazmanianWendy MoncurElizabeth Mynatt, Pinar OzturkJessica Pater, Eugenia Ha Rim Rho

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