Social Support and Unsolicited Advice in a Bipolar Disorder Online Forum

Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain.
Qualitative Health Research (Impact Factor: 2.19). 08/2009; 19(7):931-42. DOI: 10.1177/1049732309338952
Source: PubMed


How does a newly diagnosed user get inducted into a forum dedicated to people suffering from bipolar disorder? Is their opening message "matched" by the forum's reply? We add to the literature on social support online by using conversation analysis (CA) to explore an apparent contradiction between a new user's first post and forum members' replies with ostensibly unsolicited advice. CA reveals the intimate relation between turns in sequence, an aspect of online communication largely ignored in existing work on social support. Seen from this perspective, giving unsolicited advice, although apparently a "mismatch," turns out to be a consequence of the open design of the new user's initial posting. We speculate that such unsolicited advice might function at the ideological level to induct the new user into the mores of the group, not only in the kind of support it countenances giving, but into the very meaning of bipolarity itself.

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    • "Five studies examined opportunities for patients with psychosis to find peer support through the Internet (Bauer et al., 2013; Chang, 2009; Haker et al., 2005; Schrank et al., 2010; Vayreda & Antaki, 2009). The peer support consisted mainly of receiving information on their illness and its treatment and on sharing experiences with fellow patients. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Online social networking might facilitate the establishment of social contacts for people with psychosis, who are often socially isolated by the symptoms and consequences of their disorder. Aims: We carried out a systematic review exploring available evidence on the use of online social networking in people with psychosis. Methods: The review was conducted following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Included studies examined the use of the online social networking by people with an a priori diagnosis of psychosis (inclusive of bipolar disorder). Data from included studies were extracted and narratively synthesised. Results: A total of 11 studies, published between 2005 and 2013, reported data on online social networking in people with psychosis. People with psychosis seem to spend more time in chat rooms or playing online games than control groups. The use of other online tools, such as Facebook or communication through e-mail, is lower or the same than controls. Online social networking was used by patients with psychosis for establishing new relationships, maintaining relationships/reconnecting with people and online peer support. Conclusion: Online social networking, in the form of forums or online chats, could play a role in strategies aimed at enhancing social networks and reduce the risk of isolation in this population.
    International Journal of Social Psychiatry 11/2014; 61(1). DOI:10.1177/0020764014556392 · 1.15 Impact Factor
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    • "Unfortunately, Internet forums for SLE patients (Mendelson, 2003) have received limited attention from health psychologists , if compared with other disorders, for example, cancer (Gooden and Winefield, 2007; Im et al., 2009; Lieberman and Goldstein, 2005; Sullivan, 2003), HIV/AIDS (Mo & Coulson (2010); Rier, 2007), and bipolar disorders (e.g. Vayreda and Antaki, 2009). Through this exploratory study, we wanted to contribute to fill this gap, analyzing the content of an online forum devoted to SLE. "
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    ABSTRACT: Internet forums represent a useful but understudied resource to understand psychosocial aspects of living with systemic lupus erythematosus. This study was aimed to describe the demand/supply of social support through the Internet in relation with the description of personal illness experiences. All the posts (118) from an Italian forum for systemic lupus erythematosus patients were collected and analyzed combining qualitative content analysis with statistical textual analysis. The results showed different purposes for posts: starting new relationships, seeking information, receiving emotional support, and giving a contribution. Lexical analysis identified three ways of describing patients' experiences. Discussion focuses on the relationship between the requested/offered support and systemic lupus erythematosus experiences.
    Journal of Health Psychology 03/2013; 19(5). DOI:10.1177/1359105313477674 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    • "The analysis in this paper is based on a few selected threads, and, in line with the majority of discursive analyses, is not intended to be representative, but rather seeks to focus on a theoretically and empirically interesting phenomenon, see for example [6,22,23]. In a discursive analysis, data is not "coded", but attention is paid to sequencing of posts, to exact words and phrases used, to timing of responses (where relevant), and to the fine details of exactly how someone performs the activity of posting, as evidenced by their written post, and the ways in which these details tend to elicit systematic responses. "
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    ABSTRACT: There is increasing interest in online collaborative learning tools in health education, to reduce costs, and to offer alternative communication opportunities. Patients and students often have extensive experience of using the Internet for health information and support, and many health organisations are increasingly trying out online tools, while many healthcare professionals are unused to, and have reservations about, online interaction. We ran three week-long collaborative learning courses, in which 19 mental health professionals (MHPs) and 12 mental health service users (MHSUs) participated. Data were analysed using a discursive approach to consider the ways in which participants interacted, and how this contributed to the goal of online learning about using Internet technologies for mental health practice. MHSUs and MHPs were able to discuss issues together, listening to the views of the other stakeholders. Discussions on synchronous format encouraged participation by service users while the MHPs showed a preference for an asynchronous format with longer, reasoned postings. Although participants regularly drew on their MHP or MHSU status in discussions, and participants typically drew on either a medical expert discourse or a "lived experience" discourse, there was a blurred boundary as participants shifted between these positions. The anonymous format was successful in that it produced a "co-constructed asymmetry" which permitted the MHPs and MHSUs to discuss issues online, listening to the views of other stakeholders. Although anonymity was essential for this course to 'work' at all, the recourse to expert or lay discourses demonstrates that it did not eliminate the hierarchies between teacher and learner, or MHP and MHSU. The mix of synchronous and asynchronous formats helped MHSUs to contribute. Moderators might best facilitate service user experience by responding within an experiential discourse rather than an academic one.
    BMC Medical Education 03/2012; 12(1):12. DOI:10.1186/1472-6920-12-12 · 1.22 Impact Factor
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