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Title: A mixed-method approach to investigate individual behaviour in online health communities
Author: Tenuche, Bashir Sezuo
ISNI:       0000 0004 7658 4970
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2018
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With the expansion of online communities, extant research in multiple disciplines has attempted to investigate its adoption and use among individuals. However, the biggest challenge encountered by managers of these communities is supplying knowledge, particularly, the willingness to share knowledge among the members. It is extremely important to maintain committed members in terms of active participation. Yet their level of participation might vary based on some social, behavioral and environmental factors that eventually affect their intentions on whether to participate actively or not, in fact some users choose to discontinue participating totally in the community. Cancers figure among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer related deaths in 2012. The number of new cases is expected to rise by about 70% over the next 2 decades. Among men, the 5 most common sites of cancer diagnosed in 2012 were lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach, and liver cancer. According to the world cancer report, among women the 5 most common sites diagnosed were breast, colorectal, lung, cervix, and stomach cancer. For this reason, there is an ever-increasing need to establish communities to offer empathic support to patients. Though peer support groups have been known to offer adequate support to patients with cancer and are considered to be an important complement to the formal health care system, however, practical barriers such as time, mobility and geography limit their use, this is where the online communities serve an advantage, as they have the potential to overcome barriers posed by regular offline communities. To achieve its objectives, this study mainly adopts the Social cognitive theory and two components of the social influence theory. According to the SCT, user behaviour is influenced by two factors: personal cognition and environment. Social influence model postulates that individual behaviour in a community can be affected by the social environment and three factors constitute this, they are compliance, identification and internalization. The study aims to provide insights on how and why patients diagnosed with cancer (and their relatives) seek social support using the Internet and social media. In particular, we seek to understand the motivation for joining these groups and the values derived from the community for the users both active and non-active.
Supervisor: Papazafeiropoulou, A. ; Brooks, L. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Online communities ; Online health communities ; Mixed-methods ; Social cognitive theory ; Social influence