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Social Support in Online Healthcare Social Networking

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Title: Social Support in Online Healthcare Social Networking
Author(s): Chuang, Katherine; Yang, Christopher C.
Subject(s): alcoholism social support community
Abstract: Support groups play an important role in helping individuals cope with their health conditions by providing members with a network of information and social support. It is not well understood what types of support are exchanged in an online, unmoderated, peerto- peer communication of patients and caregivers. We analyzed the informational and emotional support offered and requested among an alcoholism discussion group using qualitative content analysis. Members offered a wealth of information in the form of facts, advice, and personal stories. Emotional support was also prevalent among threads where it was not explicitly requested. Our results highlight how peers are supportive to one another by providing resources and encouragement. These findings bring insight to new support we could provide to patients for sharing information, such as health professionals developing intervention programs. This work is a piece of an ongoing project that identifies the communication patterns of patients in online support groups.
Issue Date: 2010-02-03
Genre: Conference Paper / Presentation
Type: Text
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-02-22

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