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Patients' learning in cyberspace: a thematic analysis of patient-patient discussions in a chronic illness Facebook page.

Stevens, Gemma; O'Donnell, Victoria L.; Williams, Lynn

Authors

Gemma Stevens

Victoria L. O'Donnell

Lynn Williams



Abstract

Online support groups play an increasingly important role in patients' lived experience of chronic illness. The objective of this study was to explore how learning takes place from patients' interactions in an online chronic illness support group. Qualitative data consisted of 1,478 messages posted to a publicly accessible non-illness specific Facebook support page. Data was analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Four themes were identified from the analysis. This paper presents two themes, information sharing and dis(trust). Employing Wenger's communities of practice theoretical framework (Wenger, 1998), themes are discussed in terms of learning, participation in practices and identity. Online support groups can be pivotal to learning in illness. Patients' online information sharing provides them with opportunities for informal learning about their condition to take place. These online interactions lead to patients developing trust for one another and distrust for the medical care system.

Citation

STEVENS, G., O'DONNELL, V.L. and WILLIAMS, L. 2018. Patients' learning in cyberspace: a thematic analysis of patient-patient discussions in a chronic illness Facebook page. International journal of web based communities [online], 14(4), pages 417-431. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1504/IJWBC.2018.096253

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 26, 2018
Online Publication Date Nov 13, 2018
Publication Date Dec 31, 2018
Deposit Date Jan 8, 2019
Publicly Available Date Nov 14, 2019
Journal International journal of web based communities
Print ISSN 1477-8394
Electronic ISSN 1741-8216
Publisher Inderscience
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 4
Pages 417-431
DOI https://doi.org/10.1504/IJWBC.2018.096253
Keywords Patient interactions; Illness community; Chronic illness; Online support groups; Communities of practice; Learning
Public URL http://hdl.handle.net/10059/3255

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