Does Participation in Internet Cancer Support Groups Help You Cope Better? Internet-Mediated Social Support and Reported Benefits

By Gül Seçkin.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Advanced communication technology enabled through the Internet is bringing about social changes in contemporary social interactions and communication among individuals. With more than 800 million people around the globe and nearly 80% of the United States’ population online, the Internet has emerged as an important medium of interpersonal communication. Technological communication transformations are also leading to cultural transformations. Until the advent of Internet technology, the sociological definition of community focused on physical presence of people in a single location. Physical location determined belonging to a community and human interaction and communication took place primarily in face-to-face encounters and social relationships mostly took place with a limited set of individuals. This definition of community has become less useful as the internet networks spread around the globe and connect people with each other. Virtual cancer discussion and support networks are one example to this phenomenon. The popularity of the Internet fosters new communication opportunities for individuals with health-related concerns to find others and participate in virtual discussion networks. The research presented in this article explores perceived benefits of Internet-mediated support communication in cancer networks and whether perceived benefits, if any, are related to patterns of participation. As Internet relationships become more popular, it is important to discover the social and psychological effects virtual networks have on individuals and society. The empirical research presented in this article provides an interdisciplinary line of research. It is hoped that the paper will advance research questions and guide future empirical research on internet mediated social support communication.

Keywords: Internet, Network, Communication, Support, Cancer

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 10, pp.151-164. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.227MB).

Dr. Gül Seçkin

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, USA


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