Computer mediated communication: Social support for students with and without learning disabilities

Sigal Eden, Tali Heiman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study examined the relationships between the usage mode of four kinds of computerized mediated communication (CMC) by students with and without learning disabilities (LD) and perceived social and emotional support. Little is known about how undergraduate students with LD interpret and perceive CMC. We investigated the impact of the use of CMC as e-mails, internet, instant messaging (IM), SMS, and its contribution to social and emotional relationships among 364 undergraduate students without LD and 68 students diagnosed with LD, enrolled in a social science program, who completed two questionnaires. Findings pointed to higher usage of CMC to express social support, indicating that most of the students preferred using emails and SMS for that purpose. Students noted that IM is more useful for receiving social support, and e-mail is more useful for practical social advice. Students with learning disabilities reported using personal computers more frequently, especially for receiving practical advice. In addition, they reported using more IM compared to students without disabilities. The findings offer empirical evidence supporting the usefulness of CMC for mutual social activities and support, suggesting enhancement of positive support among students, and encouragement of more interaction between students, which might evoke more proactive coping strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-97
Number of pages9
JournalEducational Technology and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011


  • CMC (computer mediated communication)
  • Emotional support
  • Learning disabilities
  • Social support


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