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Health Commun. 2006;19(2):133-42.

Effects of insightful disclosure within computer mediated support groups on women with breast cancer.

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Center of Excellence in Cancer Communications Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53726, USA.


Written expression about emotionally traumatic events is associated with physical and mental health benefits, and this study examines how insightful disclosure within a computer-mediated support group for women with breast cancer affects breast cancer-related concerns, emotional well-being, and self-reported physical well-being. Using a word counting program that notes the percentage of words related to various linguistic dimensions, this research specifically examined the effects of insightful disclosure written within these groups. Surveys were administered just before group access and then 2 months and 5 months later. Insightful disclosure improved emotional well-being and reduced negative mood but did not influence breast cancer-related concerns or self-reported physical well-being. Despite the common and frequent use of computer-mediated social support (CMSS) groups for people coping with health concerns, very little research to date has quantitatively tested the effects of participating in CMSS groups, and this is among the first published studies to quantitatively link any specific activity within a CMSS group to any specific outcomes. Implications for improving psychosocial interventions for people with health concerns are discussed, and future research objectives are suggested.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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