Home and Community Care Digest
Methods: Three Internet listservs related to lupus were each followed for a three-month period. The postings of each listserv were analyzed for content and themes. The analysis was compared with findings in the literature.
Findings: While each listserv exhibited an unique "personality", five broad themes were identified from the postings to the listservs. These included: 1. Exchanging advice and information - sharing of information related to lupus; 2. Living with illness - discussions around how their lives had been affected by lupus; 3. Life goes on - the events that occur despite lupus; 4. Life in cyberspace - information and discussion about operating in an "online" environment; and 5. Being there for each other - support in the traditional sense. The listservs also differed in terms of the type of social support and personal support provided by the participants.
Conclusions: The Internet is becoming an important source of information on health and illness. Use of a listserv countered some of the barriers related to time, perceived need, and identifying support group members. The flexibility of an asynchronous listserv (that is, similar to email and not in "realtime") allows participants to "check-in" at convenient times and from a variety of geographic areas. The Internet may be an important source for support and information for people with lupus. However, participants must be cautioned that information found online may not always be correct. Online support may be an effective means of addressing some of the social support needs of other patients and caregivers who may have difficulty with mobility, and therefore provide a suitable alternative to face-to-face support groups.
Reference: Mendelson C. "Gentle hugs. "Internet listservs as sources of support for women with lupus". Advances in Nursing Science, 2003; 26, 299-306.
Be the first to comment on this!
Personal Subscriber? Sign In
Note: Please enter a display name. Your email address will not be publically displayed