A qualitative assessment of an online support community for ovarian cancer patients
Preetinder Singh Gill, Billy Whisnant
College of Technology, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI, USA
Background: A diagnosis of ovarian cancer can have detrimental effects on afflicted patients and their families. Therefore, it is important to understand the role online communities play in improving the quality of life of those affected by the disease.
Purpose: The aim of this research study is to illustrate the role that online communities play in helping patients and their families to deal with ovarian cancer.
Methods: Data were collected from an online ovarian cancer forum hosted by MedHelp.org in the form of transcripts of participant discussions. No identifying information about participants was collected. Grounded theory, a qualitative research method, was employed to develop a theory by analyzing the data. The aim of the analysis was to explore the role this forum played in ovarian cancer disease management.
Results: Data analysis helped to determine participant roles and behaviors. The results suggested that an information seeker–information provider communication process existed among users of the forum observed. Participants in the online forum shared both technical and emotional knowledge and experience in order to achieve self-management of the disease while building trust and support.
Conclusions: This study concluded that online discussion forums can play a crucial and indispensable role in dealing with diseases such as ovarian cancer, for which limited treatment options exist. Health educators can leverage online discussion forums to promote lifestyle choices and disseminate information about treatment and testing, while getting active feedback from the audience.
Keywords: online discussion forums, community, disease management, self-management, trust, support
This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.Download Article [PDF] View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]
Other articles by this author:
Published Date: 3 March 2013
Prescription painkillers and controlled substances: an appraisal of drug information provided by six US pharmacies
Published Date: 25 February 2013
Published Date: 23 January 2013
Readability assessment of concussion and traumatic brain injury publications by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Gill PS, Gill TS, Kamath A, Whisnant B
Published Date: 7 November 2012
Gill PS, Kamath A, Gill TS
Published Date: 27 August 2012
Readers of this article also read:
Lin SC, Xu YC, Gan ZH, Han K, Hu HY, Yao Y, Huang MZ, Min DL
Published Date: 11 February 2016
Varghese AM, Saltz LB
Published Date: 15 October 2015
Increased serum levels of interleukin-10 predict poor prognosis in extranodal natural killer/T-cell lymphoma patients receiving asparaginase-based chemotherapy
Wang H, Wang L, Wuxiao ZJ, Huang HQ, Jiang WQ, Li ZM, Lu Y, Xia ZJ
Published Date: 14 September 2015
Van Heertum RL, Scarimbolo R, Ford R, Berdougo E, O’Neal M
Published Date: 11 September 2015
Tracking the 2015 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium: bridging cancer biology to clinical gastrointestinal oncology
Aprile G, Leone F, Giampieri R, Casagrande M, Marino D, Faloppi L, Cascinu S, Fasola G, Scartozzi M
Published Date: 22 May 2015
Banerjee R, Kamrava M
Published Date: 28 May 2014
Published Date: 19 February 2014
Brueseke TJ, Tewari KS
Published Date: 23 May 2013
Foster TL, Bell CJ, McDonald CF, Harris JS, Gilmer MJ
Published Date: 15 June 2012