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Health Educ Res. 2001 Dec;16(6):693-707.

Receiving social support online: implications for health education.

Author information

1
North Florida-South Georgia Veteran's Health System, Gainesville, FL 32608, USA.

Abstract

Online support groups are expanding as the general public becomes more comfortable using computer-mediated communication technology. These support groups have certain benefits for users who may not be able to or do not have the desire to attend face-to-face sessions. Online support groups also present challenges when compared to traditional face-to-face group communication. Communication difficulties may arise resulting from lack of visual and aural cues found in traditional face-to-face communication. Online support groups have emerged within health care as a result of the need individuals have to know more about health conditions they are confronting. The proliferation of these online communities may provide an opportunity for health educators to reach target populations with specific messages. This paper reviews the development of health-related online support groups, examines research conducted within these communities, compares their utility with traditional support groups and discusses the implications of these groups for health education.

PMID:
11780708
DOI:
10.1093/her/16.6.693
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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