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Title: An exploration of online peer support for young people with chronic skin conditions
Author: Fox, Fiona E.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3479 7845
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2008
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Initially this doctorate addressed the dearth of research with young people with chronic skin conditions, by generating data about their experiences. Through online focus groups and interviews, the first two studies produced rich qualitative data aboLlt the psychosocial experiences and needs of this population. In particular the relationship between feeling different and the visibility of skin conditions was identified. This was affected by the responses of others and associated stress, impacting upon a se~se of control and self confidence. {', Collecting data through online focus group's demonstrated the potentially powerful experience of engaging in online peer support. The rapid development of rapport in the online environment had implications for relieving isolation and increasing confidence. This finding informed the next phase of research which focused on issues pertinent to online peer support, investigating its availability and processes. A comparison of two online chat groups found that young'people provide support more frequently than they seek it. Styles of interaction in online groups and disclosure processes explained this finding. The extent to which informational and emotional support was exchanged was context dependent. ' The fine:tl study surVeyed differ~nces between young people who do or don't use general and skin-specific online groups. Findings indicate that there are both quantitative and qualitative differences between users and non-users. These are discussed in the context of the main effects and buffering models of social support. The final theoretical framework suggests that young people with skin conditions use general online groups to develop and maintain networks of social support: Those who seek peer support online mobilize a more specialist form of social support to meet their condition-specific needs. This thesis contributes to . knowledge through the development of innovative methodologies with an under researched population and a theoretical framework which informs recommendations for the use of online peer support groups for young people with chronic skin conditions. An exploration of online peer support for toung people with chronic skin conditions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available