Psychological wellbeing as an explanation of user engagement in the lifecycle of online community participation

Donghee Yvette Wohn, Cliff Lampe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

15 Scopus citations


This study documents users' changes in psychological wellbeing across the lifecycle of their participation in an online community. Through in-depth interviews with 30 long-term users of, and content analysis of their posts, we found that psychological wellbeing plays a large role in the evolution of how users participate in the community over time. Everything2 is a long-running user-generated content site framed as an open encyclopedia. Results suggested that negative psychological wellbeing, such as loneliness and low self-esteem, fueled initial participation; validation and criticism from other users on one's content motivation continued content contribution; but ultimately feelings of relatedness with the community, unrelated to content contribution, was what retained users. Absence of social connections in the online community, as well as improved wellbeing offline, led to exit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGROUP 2018 - Proceedings of the 2018 ACM Conference on Supporting Groupwork
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781450355629
StatePublished - Jan 7 2018
Event2018 ACM Conference on Supporting Groupwork, GROUP 2018 - Sanibel Island, United States
Duration: Jan 7 2018Jan 10 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International ACM SIGGROUP Conference on Supporting Group Work


Other2018 ACM Conference on Supporting Groupwork, GROUP 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySanibel Island

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science


  • Emotional support
  • Feedback
  • Motivation
  • Online community
  • Psychological wellbeing

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