Year of Publication

2005

Date of Thesis

07-2005

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Communications (School)

Abstract

Despite the rapid proliferation of online support groups, only recently has research begun to support the idea that these groups can be a beneficial source of social support for participants. However, this research has not explored in detail how these groups function or what it is about online talk in these groups that allows supportive experiences to happen. A model for online support group interaction indicates that narrative structure and ideological content of messages influence how participants evaluate and respond to messages. These evaluations contribute to the social process that enables the enactment of social support. The online support group is a venue where participants produce and maintain alternative ideologies that validate participant experiences. Practical strategies for nurses, social worker and health professionals are proposed.

Included in

Communication Commons

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