Leadership qualities emerging in an online social support group intervention

Stephanie A. Kodatt, Jared E. Shenk, Mark L. Williams, Keith J. Horvath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Technology-delivered interventions addressing a broad range of problems for which clients present for therapy are proliferating. However, little is known of leadership dynamics that emerge in online group interventions. The purpose of this study was to assess the types of leadership qualities that would emerge in an online social support group intervention to improve medication adherence for men with HIV, and to characterize the demographic and psychosocial profiles of leaders. Written posts (n = 616) from 66 men were coded using an adapted version of the Full Range Model of leadership. Results showed that 10% (n = 64) of posts reflected one of five leadership types, the most common of which was mentoring/providing feedback (40% of leadership posts). The next most common leadership style was instances in which encouragement was offered (30% of leadership posts). Leaders appeared to have lived with HIV longer and have higher Internet knowledge scores than non-leaders. Results indicate that online group interventions potentially may be useful to supplement traditional face-to-face treatment by providing an additional venue for group members to mentor and provide emotional support to each other. However, additional research is needed to more fully understand leadership qualities and group dynamics in other online group intervention settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalSexual and Relationship Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health [grant number 5R34MH083549].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, © 2014 College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists.


  • HIV
  • Internet
  • group intervention
  • medication adherence
  • men who have sex with men


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