"I'm here for you": Can social chatbots truly support their users? A literature review

Marloes van Wezel*, Emmelyn Croes, Marjolijn Antheunis

*Corresponding author for this work

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

14 Citations (Scopus)


Applications of chatbots are becoming more diverse. One application that is specifically interesting is social chatbots, as they are designed to provide its users with social support and improve wellbeing and mental health outcomes. It is questionable to what extent social chatbots are successful support providers, as there are several differences between chatbots and humans. Given the diverse subconcepts of social support, this paper aims to evaluate to what extent relevant subconcepts (structural support, perceived support, received support, and support adequacy) are captivated in extant research on social chatbots, in order to draw conclusions about its potential. Support adequacy turned out to be most under scrutiny in extant research, while measures of structural support and received support received less attention. Surprisingly, directionality of support was another important subconcept of social support in social chatbot literature. Theoretical and practical implications as well as suggestions for future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChatbot research and design
Subtitle of host publication4th international workshop, CONVERSATIONS 2020, revised selected papers
EditorsAsbjørn Følstad, Theo Araujo, Symeon Papadopoulos, Effie L.-C. Law, Ewa Luger, Morten Goodwin, Petter Bae Brandtzaeg
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-68288-0
ISBN (Print)9783030682873
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventConversations 2020: 4th international workshop on chatbot research - Online, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 23 Nov 202024 Nov 2020

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS)


ConferenceConversations 2020
Internet address


  • Social Chatbots
  • Social Support
  • Well-being
  • Chatbots


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