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Type: Journal article
Title: Support provision and emotional work in an Internet support group for cancer patients
Author: Winefield, H.
Citation: Patient Education and Counseling, 2006; 62(2):193-197
Publisher: Elsevier Sci Ireland Ltd
Issue Date: 2006
ISSN: 0738-3991
Statement of
Helen R. Winefield
Abstract: Objective The study examined the content and frequency of messages to an Internet support group, using a conceptual framework based on support-giving and emotional work. The main questions addressed concerned what correspondents seem to be gaining from their involvement and whether the high-frequency correspondents differ motivationally from the lower-frequency correspondents. Methods Messages to an Internet support group for women with breast cancer were collected over 12 months. The number of contributions written by individual correspondents could be determined. Messages were reliably coded for their main themes in terms of seeking or providing support. Results The majority of correspondents (94%) wrote fewer than 10 messages. Two high-frequency correspondents emerged whose messages significantly less often referred to seeking and more often to providing support than did the messages of the less-frequent correspondents. These volunteer emotion workers both reported gaining personal satisfaction from their role. Conclusion The high-frequency correspondents act as informal volunteer emotion workers for the other users, and valuably supplement the role of the group's initiators. Further research is needed on how to amplify the psychological rewards for volunteer emotion workers in online support groups for adults with cancer. Practice implications Volunteer assistants in electronic groups may be crucial to the sustainability of online support initiatives.
Keywords: Breast cancer
Computer mediated communication
Support groups
Emotion work
Description: Copyright © 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2005.07.002
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 6
Psychiatry publications

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