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Health Soc Work. 1999 Aug;24(3):220-31.

An exploration of helping processes in an online self-help group focusing on issues of disability.

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  • 1Department of Social Work, University of New Hampshire, Durham 03824, USA.


This article reviews the growing use of online self-help and mutual aid groups and explores the helping mechanisms and content of an online self-help group for issues related to disability. Messages were downloaded from the group and coded by raters into helping categories to examine the extent to which therapeutic processes were found. The categories included both task and socioemotional-related functions. The study found that the group provided many of the processes used in face-to-face self-help and mutual aid groups, with an emphasis on mutual problem solving, information sharing, expression of feelings, catharsis, and mutual support and empathy. Implications for social work and health care providers and the need for further research are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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