Creator of Knowledge
Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Peer-to-Peer Health-Related Online Support Groups

Peer-to-Peer Health-Related Online Support Groups
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Author(s): Neil S. Coulson (University of Nottingham, UK)
Copyright: 2018
Pages: 15
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Fourth Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch327


View Peer-to-Peer Health-Related Online Support Groups on the publisher's website for pricing and purchasing information.


In recent years, the Internet has provided new opportunities for individuals living with health-related problems to communicate with each other via online support groups. These groups offer many unique advantages, such as convenience, anonymity, and access to a diverse range of group members. However, there are potential disadvantages to their use, for example, misleading information. Within such groups, patients may talk about a range of issues and provide support to one another, particularly informational and emotional support. Through self-disclosure and empathic communication, members may feel able to share personal stories as well as help others. Whilst robust evidence for their effectiveness is lacking, there is much qualitative and cross-sectional evidence suggesting that participation in online support groups may be beneficial. However, there is an urgent need for randomised controlled trials of pure peer-to-peer online support interventions across both physical and mental health conditions.

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