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Soc Work Health Care. 2005;42(2):23-38.

Online support groups for Parkinson's patients: a pilot study of effectiveness.

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  • 1University of California, 3333 California St, box 0824, Suite 475, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA.


(A) Will PD patients participate in online, professionally led support groups? (B) What are their demographics characteristics and PD severity? (C) Are such groups beneficial? (D) Should patients be grouped for stage of disease? Depression and quality of life were assessed. Sixty-six people were assigned to a 20-week, professionally facilitated online support group. Participants were assigned to one of 2 group types based on patient similarity: homogeneous and heterogeneous. PD patients appear to readily enroll in online groups. Compared to PD patients in traditional support groups, the online were younger, less depressed and had higher quality of life. Dropouts (39%) were high. Overall, patients showed improved quality of life; no overall changes were observed in depression. Participants in the homogenous groups reported a significant decrease in depression.

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