A thematic analysis of messages posted by moderators within health-related asynchronous online support forums

Smedley, Richard M. and Coulson, Neil S. (2017) A thematic analysis of messages posted by moderators within health-related asynchronous online support forums. Patient Education and Counseling, 100 (9). pp. 1688-1693. ISSN 0738-3991

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Abstract

Objective: To identify and describe the activities performed by online support community moderators.

Methods: A total of 790 messages were downloaded for analysis. Messages were written by 59 moderators from 6 forums that represent a diverse range of conditions (arthritis, complex regional pain syndrome, Crohn’s disease, depression, diabetes and Huntington’s disease).

Results:Thematic analysis revealed four themes: supportive tasks supportive tasks involve providing help to members, moderators sharing experiences shows how they use forums to fulfil their own personal support needs, making announcements about new discoveries and upcoming events, and administrative tasks such as enforcing rules and deleting spam.

Conclusion: These results are consistent with the helper-therapy principle and provide a new insight into the diverse and varied range of activities carried out by moderators.

Practice implications: Moderators perform many roles, including using forums for their own support needs.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Moderator, Online support community, Thematic analysis, Social support, Helper-therapy principle
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.pec.2017.04.008
Depositing User: Dziunka, Patricia
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2017 14:00
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2017 13:49
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/46959

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