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Coping through blogging: A review of studies on the potential benefits of weblogs for stress reduction

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This paper provides a descriptive overview of the empirical evidence for potential effects of reflective weblog writing for coping with stress. Seventeen studies meeting the inclusion criteria are summarized in a systematic synopsis. Sixteen studies focus on self-initiated blogging in informal contexts. Only one study examines mandated weblog writing for coping in an institutionalized context. Results indicate that the public nature of weblogs opens up a variety of possibilities for both problem-focused and emotion-focused coping, most importantly through social support. Although these studies show promising results, it remains unclear if and how the benefits of self-initiated blogging can be transferred to more formal settings. Thus, future research should examine how blogging can be mandated and scaffolded in order to foster coping strategies and decrease stress levels. For this purpose, experimentally controlled and longitudinal studies are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach.
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Petko, D., Egger, N., Schmitz, F. M., Totter, A., Hermann, T., & Guttormsen, S. (2015). Coping through
blogging: A review of studies on the potential benefits of weblogs for stress reduction. Cyberpsychology:
Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 9(2), article 5. doi: 10.5817/CP2015-2-5
Coping through blogging: A review of studies on the potential
benefits of weblogs for stress reduction
Dominik Petko1, Nives Egger2, Felix Michael Schmitz3, Alexandra Totter4, Thomas Hermann5, Sissel
1,2 Pädagogische Hochschule Schwyz, Goldau, Switzerland
3,5 Universität Bern, Institut für Medizinische Lehre, Bern, Switzerland
4 Pädagogische Hochschule Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
This paper provides a descriptive overview of the empirical evidence for potential effects of
reflective weblog writing for coping with stress. Seventeen studies meeting the inclusion
criteria are summarized in a systematic synopsis. Sixteen studies focus on self-initiated
blogging in informal contexts. Only one study examines mandated weblog writing for coping in
an institutionalized context. Results indicate that the public nature of weblogs opens up a
variety of possibilities for both problem-focused and emotion-focused coping, most importantly
through social support. Although these studies show promising results, it remains unclear if
and how the benefits of self-initiated blogging can be transferred to more formal settings.
Thus, future research should examine how blogging can be mandated and scaffolded in order
to foster coping strategies and decrease stress levels. For this purpose, experimentally
controlled and longitudinal studies are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach.
Keywords: weblogs; blogging; writing therapy; coping; stress; review
Introduction: Blogging in Stressful Situations A New Way of Coping?
In psychology, the concept of “stress” is an umbrella term for a broad range of mostly negative
psychological states with potentially health affecting implications (Carver & Vargas, 2011; Dougall &
Baum, 2012). Stress can vary not only in duration and intensity but also in symptoms, which differ
individually and manifest either biologically (high blood pressure, lack of appetite, sleeplessness, tremors,
cardiovascular disease etc.) or psychologically (uneasiness, depression, fear, panic etc.). Stress is seen
not as a simple effect of circumstances, but as result of a complex interplay between situations,
personality traits and behaviour (Aldwin, 2007). Given the complexity of the psychological stress concept,
research faces the challenge to find new ways of helping people deal with diverse and highly individual
stress-related experiences. As the state “being stressed” is increasingly seen as normal, there is a need
for low-threshold methods for intervention that do not stigmatize individuals as being “in treatment” for
minor issues. One of the more recent developments has been the use of internet communication,
especially weblogs, for coping with stress. To understand the potential benefits and the relative novelty of
this approach, a brief recapitulation of the theoretical underpinnings of coping with stress and writing
therapy is necessary.
According to the classical definition of Lazarus (1966, 1999) and Lazarus and Folkman (1984), stress is a
personal reaction to a situation that is subjectively perceived as threatening (primary appraisal) when
there is also a subjective lack of resources for confronting it (secondary appraisal). By coping, people seek
to change the stress-inducing situation or reduce the feeling of being stressed (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984).
Productive coping can be regarded as either problem-focused or emotion-focused (Carver, 2011; Folkman
& Lazarus, 1980) although there are may further distinctions (Skinner, Edge, Altman, & Sherwood, 2003).
Traditional pen-and-paper journaling has been considered as a helpful tool for both emotion-focused and
problem-focused coping (Burt, 1994; Pennebaker, 1993) and research on writing therapy has assumed
that disclosure through writing has positive cognitive as well as emotional effects (Pennebaker, 1997,
2004; Peterkin & Prettyman, 2009; Sloan & Marx, 2004). On the cognitive side, writing can lead to an
adaptive reframing of situations, e.g. by creating new narratives and interpretations of past situations,
recognizing changes in the current situation, or developing new plans for action to change the future
situation. On the emotional side, writing can be used as a form of emotional venting and especially
when writing for an audience can invite empathy and solidarity, either in private or in public. Both
aspects are interconnected. However, cognitive reappraisal is expected to lead to a more profound
emotional reappraisal than the other way around (Burleson & Goldsmith, 1998; Lazarus & Folkman,
1984). Summing up the numerous studies following the groundbreaking works of Pennebaker and Beall
(1985), meta-analyses have repeatedly shown the positive effects of therapeutic writing (Frattaroli, 2006;
Frisina, Borod, & Lepore, 2004; Smyth, 1998; van Emmerik, Reijntjes, & Kamphuis, 2012). These
substantial effects can also be explained by the general characteristics of writing. In contrast to talking,
writing has many unique characteristics: It allows for more time to think. It produces a fixed record that
endures the moment it was created, it can be reread and shared and commented on (independent of time
and place). Writing is potentially anonymous, it can be self-initiated or mandated. Hence, many variants
of writing interventions exist. Next to the variants of “writing therapy” (collected in Bolton, Howlett, Lago,
& Wright, 2004; Lepore & Smyth, 2002), journal writing has been employed as a generic tool to foster
reflective practice (Boud, 2001; Hiemstra, 2001; O’Connell & Dyment, 2011). While research on writing
therapy has concentrated on mandated journal writing, research on reflective practice and coping has
looked primarily at more self-initiated approaches with writing as sort of self-therapy. Today, with the
advent of digital writing tools, research needs to address the question of whether these new possibilities
can expand the benefits of traditional journaling approaches for both self-initiated and mandated writing
procedures (Nagel & Anthony, 2009; Sheese, Brown, & Graziano, 2004; Wright, 2002; Wright & Chung,
General Properties of Blogging
Weblogs are probably the closest digital equivalent to traditional journals on the Internet. A weblog can be
understood as a technological tool as well as a form of individual and social practice. As a technological
tool, it is a relatively easy-to-use web-content management system that facilitates the development and
maintenance of a chronologically structured website that requires frequent updating (Blood, 2002; Du &
Wagner, 2006; Safran & Kappe, 2008). Popular open-source examples are Wordpress
( and Drupal ( Hosted examples run by companies include Blogger
( and Tumblr ( In contrast to other content-management systems,
entries (so called “posts”) are usually presented in reverse chronological order. The latest posts are shown
on top of the page while older entries are moved down. Posts are commonly grouped by days, weeks and
months while older entries are moved into an archive. In many weblog content management systems,
posts can be additionally labeled with categories and tags, allowing for alternative ways to find specific
content. Weblogs have been the first to adopt a range of new functionalities such as RSS-feeds and
trackbacks, giving rise to a so called “blogosphere”, where blogs can be seen as a tool of multilateral
communication rather than individual information sharing. The “ease of use” made them a cornerstone of
the so called Web 2.0, which was seen as a paradigm shift where common Internet users were enabled to
become authors as well (Hew & Cheung, 2013; O’Reilly, 2007). As a social practice, blogging changed the
way personal information became a matter of public interest. The term “weblog” was originally coined by
John Barger in 1997, who wrote his “Robot Wisdom Weblog” postings on a daily basis in a very personal
and informal way, describing his daily online discoveries and thoughts for an unknown and open group of
readers. Even today, as weblog software has been adopted and employed by companies and for many
other purposes, “blogging” can be conceptualized as an informal way of writing personal thoughts on a
regular basis in a chronologically order on a webpage. In other words: “Bloggers are driven to document
their lives, […] express deeply felt emotions, articulate ideas through writing, and form and maintain
community forums“ (Nardi, Schiano, Gumprecht, & Swartz, 2004, p. 41). Today, this social practice has
been supplemented by and partly integrated in microblogging services such as Twitter (
and social networks, for example Facebook ( While traditional weblogs have the
advantage of technological ownership (i.e. a weblog content management system can be installed on
one’s own server) and they tend to be more elaborate than the ones in microblogs and social networks,
for example microblogging sites add additional control in the visibility of blog postings for selected friends,
contact networks and communities. Compared to online forums, which are collaboratively attributed to a
group of people, both weblogs and microblogging social networks are spaces with increased personal
accountability. In addition, the informal nature of weblogs has seen some change. In educational
contexts, for example, weblogs are considered to be a part of a Personal Learning Environment (Attwell,
2007) and are increasingly being used as a tool for facilitating self-regulated, student-centred and
reflective learning (Robertson, 2011; Sim & Hew, 2010).
Specific Properties of Blogging for Coping with Stress
Blogging includes writing blog posts, reading blog posts of others, receiving and writing comments (Deng
& Yuen, 2011). Compared to traditional pen-and-paper journals, weblogs offer a number of additional
possibilities. Digital text entries can be saved, reopened and edited and digital images and multimedia
files can be embedded in blog postings. Blogs can be written for different audiences and with different
visibility options. Entries can be either private or password-protected for a specific audience or completely
open to the web. They can be written individually or collaboratively. When public, blogs provides bloggers
with a sense of writing for an audience and giving readers the opportunity to add commentaries next to
the original posting or reacting within their own weblog by adding a trackback link. As digital media with
the possibility of a worldwide audience and the same time, if desired, a relative anonymity, weblogs can
reduce constraints that hinder individuals from communicating stressful events by offering a safe setting
with which people are better able to share inner thoughts and feelings (Caplan & Turner, 2007; Rains,
2013; Suler, 2004). This opens up new possibilities for social support, which can take the form of emotion
oriented empathetic comments (e.g. expressing solidarity, understanding or encouragement) or problem
oriented comments (e.g. additional information, alternative explanations, possible solutions) (Caplan &
Turner, 2007). It needs to be investigated whether the feeling of social support is limited to comments on
writers own blogs or whether it extends to other blog entries and comments in the blogosphere, thus
creating a shared online community. If and how coping practices differ between blogs and Internet
discussion forums seems not quite clear yet (Salvolainen, 2011). In contrast with online-forums or mailing
lists that are commonly used by online support groups (Eysenbach, Powell, Englesakis, Rizo, & Stern,
2004; Rochlen, Zack, & Speyer, 2004; Wright, 1999), weblogs differ in their personal ownership and
chronological journaling structure. Finally, apart from the obvious potentials, there are also a number of
dangers and pitfalls that should be taken into account (Debatin, Lovejoy, Horn, & Hughes, 2009; Heilferty,
2009; Jones, 2003). Self-disclosure on the internet poses problems of privacy that cannot easily be
reversed. While those risks are primarily associated with adolescents’ use of the internet (Anderson-
Butcher et al., 2010; Livingstone, Haddon, Görzig, & Olafsson, 2011), some might be applicable to adults
as well. With regard to stressful events, blogging can lead to an increased vulnerability of bloggers
(inviting flaming, bullying, mobbing), an increased attention of the wrong sort of people who may be
inclined to give problematic support and unprofessional advice (e.g. encouragement for suicide), or
leading to a feeling of increased loneliness and desperation when blog posts do not receive as much
feedback as expected, and even to addiction (Kuss & Griffiths, 2011). Thus, how and under which
conditions weblogs unfold their positive potential for coping with stress needs to be analyzed in more
detail. As more and more studies with regard to this topic emerge, this contribution aims at collecting the
available evidence in a first review.
Research Questions
Today, there is no systematic overview of empirical studies regarding blogging for coping with stress to
our knowledge. By focusing on the concepts of “stress” and “coping” (in contrast to more specific concepts
such as “illness”, “therapy” or “trauma”), we seek to find evidence for rather informal and low-threshold
applications of weblogs to alleviate psychological distress. Previous reviews in related fields of study, such
as the effectiveness of online support groups do not include blogs (Eysenbach et al., 2004) or they focus
on rather narrow fields of application (e.g. the professional opportunities of illness related weblogs for
nursing; Heilferty, 2009). By conducting a systematic review, we try to answer the following questions:
What are the main benefits and risks of blogging as a self-initiated strategy for coping with
What are promising conditions for the employment of blogging as a mandated strategy for
stress reduction in institutional (i.e. therapeutic or educational) settings?
For a systematic review of existing empirical studies, we basically followed the guidelines proposed by
Petticrew and Roberts (2006). We selected a number of key databases in the field of education,
psychology and medicine and searched them systematically with a predefined number and combination of
keywords. The results were narrowed down by specific inclusion and exclusion criteria. As there were very
few studies with rigorous experimental design, conduction of a proper meta-analysis was not possible.
Instead, we produce a descriptive tabulated synopsis and compiled the main findings in form of a
narrative overview.
Selection of Databases
We selected the following key databases for our search: ERIC (, PILOTS
(, PsycINFO (, MEDLINE/PubMed
(, Thomson Reuters Web of Science (,
Google Scholar ( and the German FIS Bildung (
These databases cover the Areas of Education (ERIC, FIS), Psychology (PILOTS, PsycINFO), Medicine
(PubMed) and general scientific literature (Google Scholar, WoS).
Formulating Search Queries
The following initial search terms were used: “weblog*” AND “stress”, “weblog*” AND “coping”, “blog*”
AND “stress”, “blog*” AND “coping”. For the search in GoogleScholar we applied a slightly different search
query: “weblog*”, “blog*”, “stress”, “coping”. These search terms are purposefully narrow as they do not
explicitly cover blogging in the context of therapy”, “illness”, “trauma”, “posttraumatic stress”, “health”
or other terms, that might be interrelated. Thus, it has to be pointed out, that the review is limited to
studies integrating the concepts of general “stress” and “coping”. The search was conducted between
October 21, 2013 and October 24, 2013.
Application of Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria
The search yielded in a sum of 448 results that were examined and checked for inclusion criteria. We
included (a) empirical studies (both qualitative and quantitative) that have been (b) published in journals,
in books or as a doctoral thesis with a focus on (c) the use of weblogs (defined as a chronologically
structured personal website, including personal sites on social networks but excluding exchange in online
forums), d) particularly for coping with stress and psychological distress, e) with changes in coping
behavior, stress levels, resilience or well-being as outcome variable, f) published in English or German.
These criteria also excluded studies which used weblogs only as a research method or as a diagnostic tool
(e.g. by computerized textual analysis). After eliminating double appearances, 17 articles of the
consolidated list met the inclusion criteria for a review. The inclusion criteria were independently judged
by two persons. Deviations in judgment were discussed until a joint decision was reached.
Tabulated Analysis
For our tabulated analysis we grouped the studies into one of three distinct categories:
A) Self-initiated general-purpose blogging. These studies investigate the general reasons and
effects of weblog writing without focusing on specific topics or types of bloggers. In these
studies, coping with stress is reported to be among the reasons for or the effects of blogging.
B) Self-initiated problem-specific blogging. These studies focus on a specific type of distress
and investigate the experiences of bloggers affected by these types of problems. Although
these studies seek to draw conclusions with regard to problem-specific potentials of blogging,
the theoretical foundations with respect to stress and blogging remain comparable.
C) Mandated problem-specific blogging. These studies investigate the use of blogging for
coping with stress when it is mandated in a formal context. In contrast to the other types,
blogging is requested or encouraged by a therapist, educator or other representative of an
Within each category we sorted the studies alphabetically and cross-tabulated a brief description of every
study’s aim, sample, methods and results. This provides an overview of the main findings. Based on these
descriptions, we draw conclusions with regard to our research questions.
An overview of the 17 reviewed studies is presented in the following chapters. The presentation is
grouped according to the three distinct categories outlined above. At a glance, it can be noted that the
large majority of 16 studies deal with self-initiated blogging while mandated blogging has only been
investigated in one study. Within the studies on self-initiated blogging, seven studies focus on stress-
related effects of general-purpose blogging while nine studies address the effects of blogging practices
related to specific problems.
Self-Initiated General-Purpose Blogging for Coping with Stress
Table 1 presents an overview of seven studies investigating psychological characteristics of voluntary
bloggers and their reasons for blogging. Studies differ greatly in their design, comparing practicing
bloggers and non-bloggers [A1], intending bloggers with non-bloggers [A2], therapeutic bloggers and
other types of bloggers [A3], bloggers with higher or lower levels of disclosure [A4, A6], general reasons
for blogging in a sample of respondents [A5] or a single case study [A7]. Studies in this section are
mainly based on questionnaire data [A1, A2, A3, A4, A6], to lesser degree on content analysis [A4, A5] or
qualitative methods in a single case study [A7].
Table 1. Tabulated Description of Studies Focusing on Self-Initiated General-Purpose Blogging
for Coping with Stress.
[Index] Reference
Study aims and sample
[A1] Baker &
Moore (2008a)
The study examines
psychosocial differences
between bloggers and non-
bloggers over time (N=58
new MySpace users who
are grouped regarding to
the regularity of their
Questionnaire data were
collected at two points in
time over a period of two
months. Group differences
were analyzed using
repeated measures
Social integration, reliable alliance, and
friendship satisfaction were reported to be
significantly higher for bloggers than for non-
bloggers. Bloggers further experienced
increased social support. However, regarding
direct effects on stress levels, there were no
significant differences between groups over
[A2] Baker &
Moore (2008b)
The study explores the
interrelation of the
intention of new
subscribers to blog in
combination with other
social and psychological
variables such as stress,
among others (N=134 new
MySpace users).
Questionnaire data were
analyzed using
independent T-tests to
check differences between
intending bloggers and
non-bloggers on numerous
dependent variables.
Intending bloggers were less satisfied with
their social integration and the number of
online and face-to-face friends. In addition,
they showed higher scores for psychological
distress and a tendency towards self-blame
and venting as coping strategies.
[A3] Baker &
Moore (2011)
The purpose of the study is
to create a 16-item
Personal Blogging Style
Scale (PBSS) to measure
different reasons for
blogging, among those:
therapeutic blogging
(N=182 experienced
bloggers on MySpace).
A factor analysis was
conducted in order to
‘validate’ this instrument
with four subscales:
Therapeutic blogging, Self-
Censoring Blogging,
Connected Blogging and
Substitution Blogging
Correlations with several
covariates were also
Persons with a tendency to therapeutic
blogging showed less satisfaction with
friendships, higher levels of depression,
anxiety and stress, but also the prevalence of
various coping mechanisms. When blogging in
a connected fashion, this was found beneficial
for coping and stress reduction.
[A4] Bronstein
The study explores self-
presentation and self-
disclosure in personal
blogs. (N=90 personal blogs
of Latin American
Content analysis of
weblogs was combined
with descriptive statistics
of questionnaire data.
Blogging serves different needs. A majority of
bloggers showed at least some degree of
personal self-disclosure. When asked about
reasons for blogging, some participants
described blogging as an “X-ray of my life”,
for “achieving catharsis”, “like a therapy”,
while others highlighted other purposes more
closely related to leisure or other everyday
activites. For most bloggers, publishing a blog
posting leads to positive feelings like being
[A5] Fullwood,
Sheehan, &
Nicholls (2009)
A sample of N=120
MySpace blogs were
examined to identify
trends in purpose, level of
language formality, more
or less positive tone,
requests for feedback and
use of emoticons. These
aspects were compared
across bloggers’ sex and
age categories.
A weblog content analysis
was conducted. Further, to
analyze group differences,
Chi-Square tests were
The most common motivations for blogging
appeared to be writing a personal diary and
to use it as a means for emotional venting.
This was especially true for bloggers above
the age of 50. The study concludes that
blogging might be an effective way of coping,
especially for people with difficulties in face-
to-face interaction.
[A6] Ko & Pu
The study examines the
impact of bloggers’ self-
disclosure on their
resilience (N=226).
Questionnaire data were
collected and analyzed
using correlation analysis
and structural equation
modeling (SEM).
Nearly 60% of participants blog about
stressful life events. Higher levels of self-
disclosure in weblogs showed positive
interrelations with bloggers’ social
connections, their self-understanding, helpful
feedback, and levels of resilience when
dealing with stressful situations.
[A7] Tan (2008)
The case study of a single
blogger examines the
potentials of blogging for
self-therapy purposes.
Qualitative interviews and
a narrative portraiture of
the blogger were
Blogging supported self-reflection and
cathartic expression, creating an online
sounding board and maintaining relationships
with readers. Generalized, weblogs were
regarded as an effective coping tool for
people predisposed to writing.
Self-Initiated Problem-Specific Blogging for Coping with Stress
Table 2 presents studies focusing on one particular type of problem-related weblogs such as stress in
medical education [B1, B3], child loss [B2], disease [B4, B8], child adoption [B5], childbirth and infant
care [B6] and eating disorders [B7, B9]. Not only the topics are diverse, but also the research
methodology. Especially content analysis of blog postings seems to be a prevalent method in these kinds
of studies [B1, B2, B4, B5, B7, B8], partially complimented with in-depth interviews [B5, B7, B9]. Only
two of these studies compared bloggers with non-bloggers using larger samples and quantitative
measures [B3, B6].
Mandated Problem-Specific Blogging for Coping with Stress
Only one study [C1] has been found to employ mandated blogging in order to cope with stress (table 3).
It seems that in the field of “stress” and “coping” mandated blogging is still uncommon.
Table 2. Tabulated Description of Studies Focusing on Self-Initiated Problem-Specific Blogging
for Coping with Stress.
[Index] Reference
Study aims and sample
[B1] Abdo,
Pashnyak, &
Dennen (2011)
The study examines the
use of blogs during medical
school and residency
training (N=30 weblogs of
medical students).
Qualitative content
analysis of weblogs and
Weblogs are described as one of the “coping
mechanisms to survive the difficult years of
medical school and residency training”. After
work-life balance, stress is one of the major
topics in about one third of student blogs.
Students profit most from writing weblogs
when communicating anonymously and thus
openly sharing experiences and cases with
peers in order to support each other. The
study found high levels of social interaction,
with the large majority being supportive or
[B2] DeGroot &
Carmack (2013)
Case study of a single
mother who lost her
children. The study
analyzed on how the
mother expresses parental
grief through her blog.
The instrumental case
study seeks to test the
theoretical validity of
established phases of
parental grief by applying
them to the weblog
content analysis and
judging their fit.
The blog showed the different stages of grief
as expected from the literature. However, the
computer-mediated nature of blogging was
seen as a factor for an even more genuine
expression of emotions. The weblog
generated a broad range of social support
while at the same time offering protection by
relative anonymity and the asynchronous
nature of the communication. Thus, blogging
can blur the lines in the social conventions of
how severe stress such as grief is dealt with
privately and publicly.
[B3] Frame (2008)
The study seeks to examine
differences in situational
stress and job satisfaction
between resident
assistants writing online
journals (n=139) and
resident assistants who are
not keeping these kind of
journals (n=646).
To check for group
differences, data from an
online questionnaire
including a 50- item stress
inventory and several
questions on blogging
were analyzed using t-test,
Online journal keepers reported higher levels
of situational stress resulting from
professional changes in personal lifestyles
than non-journal keepers.
[B4] Keim-Malpass
& Steeves (2012)
The study explores why
young women with cancer
write weblogs (N=16).
Weblog postings were
analyzed using
ethnographic techniques
and qualitative content
Blogs offer a platform to express emotions,
exchange information and receive social
support. Thus, they help bloggers to better
understand their own emotions and
psychological needs. Weblog writing is
described as form of ‘emotional catharsis’.
[B5] Laughery
Carson (2013)
The study investigates the
benefit of blogging for
prospective adoptive
parents. For this purpose
the qualitative study
compares bloggers (n=4)
and non-bloggers (n=5).
Qualitative interviews,
field notes, blogs entries
and related artifacts were
analyzed using approaches
derived from
and grounded theory.
Blogs offer a platform for multiple ways of
coping with stressful problems during the
process of adopting a child. They are
employed for adaptive storytelling and
meaning making, emotion processing,
community seeking and within this
community to seek and gain information.
Thus, the blogosphere complements more
traditional support networks. By telling their
stories, bloggers became examples for other
parents following the same road.
[B6] McDaniel,
Coyne, & Holmes
The study examines
aspects of well-being of
first-time mothers
Self-reported frequency of
blogging activity and
personal well-being
The frequency of blog postings predicted
feelings of connection and the perceptions of
social support, which in turn increased
depending on their use of
weblogs and social
networks (N=157).
responses were recorded
using an online
questionnaire. Data were
analyzed using correlations
and structural equation
modelling (SEM).
maternal well-being and reduced parental
[B7] Sanford
The study examines the
use of weight loss blogs of
morbidly obese people
Weblog content, open-
ended questionnaires and
follow-up interviews were
analyzed using grounded
theory methods.
With regard to obesity-related stress,
blogging helped through social support in the
following four ways: by receiving empathy by
others, by means of ensuring accountability
to readers; by providing opportunities for
venting and advice seeking; and by receiving
validation for weight losses.
[B8] Strand (2012)
The study explores
blogging as a tool to cope
with the highly stigmatized
disease HIV (N=6).
Qualitative analysis of
weblog content.
Blogging is seen as an effective tool for coping
with the huge psychological stress HIV
patients often face. Content analysis shows
weblogs as potentially effective method for
self-administered therapy. The persistence of
the blog activities over time has been
interpreted as proof of its benefit for coping.
[B9] Yeshua-Katz &
Martins (2013)
Bloggers with eating
disorders (N=33) were
interviewed to investigate
their motivation, benefits
and drawbacks of blogging.
Qualitative interviews
were conducted and
analyzed using grounded
theory methods.
Blogging was considered as an effective way
to cope with a stigmatized illness by means of
self-expression. Participants described
blogging as a cathartic experience; they also
appreciated the social-support from readers
and other bloggers as stress relieving. Next to
the potentials, some drawbacks were evident
such as fear of disclosure, encouragement to
persist with eating disorders as well as being
Table 3. Tabulated Description of Studies Focusing on Mandated Problem-Specific Blogging
for Coping with Stress.
[Index] Reference
Study aims and sample
[C1] Boniel-Nissim
& Barak (2013)
The study investigates the
value of blogging for
adolescents who
experience social-
emotional difficulties
In a field experiment,
participants were assigned
either to one of four
blogging groups (pre-
open/closed to responses),
a group writing personal
diaries on a computer or
to a non-treatment control
group. Analyses are based
on pretest, posttest and
follow-up questionnaire
data as well as expert
ratings of weblog content
scores and gains).
Blogging led to a significant decrease of
distress levels compared to the PC writing
group and the control group. Highest
improvements in psychological well-being
were achieved when blogs were pre-
structured and when blogs were open to
responses and feedback.
Overall Observations
Overall, the reviewed literature seems to confirm that blogging might be a suitable tool for coping with
stressful situations. Results from all three types of studies highlight the benefits of blogging for emotion
focused coping, in terms of emotional venting and catharsis through self-expression [studies A2, A4, A5,
A7, B4, B5, B7, B8, B9, C1]. In addition, receiving empathetic comments and reading weblogs of others
creates a feeling of being understood and supported by a community [A1, A4, A6, B2, B4, B6, B7, B9,
C1]. In a similar manner, problem focused coping through blogging is rarely described as an individual
undertaking, but as a process of sharing information, providing and receiving tips and tricks, reporting on
successes and failures and getting feedback from others [A4, A7, B1, B4, B5, B7, B9]. Only three studies
seem to report negative differences, i.e. that bloggers are more stressed than non-bloggers [A2, A3, B3].
Since these studies are not longitudinal, it remains unclear whether this is the cause or an effect of the
blogging activity. Some studies also report specific drawbacks and risks, such as waste of time, increased
competitiveness with other bloggers, unwanted emotions and lying for better self-presentation [B5, B9].
Two studies reported inappropriate blog postings and aggressive comments [B3, B9]. Other studies
mention the potential risks of disclosing too much personal information which can be avoided to a certain
degree by blogging anonymously [A4, B9]. Anonymization is more difficult when blogging is done via
social networks, however [B6]. Even though writing publicly about private matters might generally feel
unusual at first, the amount of social attention received seem to outweigh these risks [A7, B2]. One study
reports a risk of being encouraged by blogging to continue to be a member of a suffering community
instead of finding a solution [B9].
Very few variables moderating or mediating the (successful) usage of weblogs have been investigated or
even reported, so far. At least one study [A7] reports that persons who are predisposed to writing are
especially suited to blog, but apart from that, studies did seldom examine differential effects. In addition,
we did not find comparisons between the effects of weblogs and other forms of reflection and exchange
for coping so far. Also, the interplay of weblog writing and other forms of coping activities has not been
described in any detail. Finally, there are no studies in this review dealing with the question of how
blogging can be purposefully used in therapeutic or educational settings. Only two studies investigate the
use of blogs in formal educational or professional settings, one coming from the field of medical education
[B1], one from the broader context of higher education [B3]. All others investigate the use of blogs in
private lives.
Looking closer at the methods used in these studies, some potential limitations can be pointed out. The
design of most studies is descriptive. Only one study employs a quasi-experimental approach [C1]. Most
of the research examines naturally occurring blogging practices in stressful situations. This is known to
lead to high face validity on the one hand, but also comes with a potential bias on the other. It can be
presumed that only successful bloggers choose to maintain their blogs. Thus, most results can be seen as
in-depth documentations of success stories. Unsuccessful blogging experiences are most likely harder to
find as these blogs are abandoned or deleted. Sample sizes strongly vary, beginning with one single blog
[A7, B2], to between six and twenty selected cases [B4, B5, B8], thirty and a hundred participants [A1,
A4, B1, B7, B9] or more [A2, A3, A6, B6, C1] up to with a maximum of 750 subjects [B3]. Findings
deriving from small samples (N < 30) are difficult to generalize. Moreover, the larger studies are
consistently based on convenience samples, which are not necessarily representative. With regard to data
collection and analysis, most studies rely on qualitative and interpretative methodology. Five studies are
based on content analyses of existing weblogs [A5, B1, B2, B4, B8]. Others combine content analysis with
interviews, open-ended questionnaires [B5, B7] or standardized questionnaires [A1, A4, C1]. Five studies
exclusively work with questionnaires [A2, A3, A6, B3, B6], and two with interviews alone [A7, B9].
Content analyses of weblogs rarely document the longitudinal change of blogging practices over time. In
conclusion this means that although findings are generally positive, methodological limitations of the
research methods leave many questions open for future studies.
Discussion and Conclusion
The results of our review indicate that there were many instances where blogging has been documented
as a powerful tool to cope with stressful situations in different fields of application. In addition to the
general potential of traditional therapeutic writing, information sharing and social support as essential
elements of weblogs seem to provide effective support for writers to overcome stressful situations, both in
an emotion-focused and problem-focused manner. Most studies show that bloggers appreciate the open,
non-stigmatizing and anonymous way that seems to be a core characteristic of the online experience.
Despite these positive findings, results are not conclusive and need to be treated with caution. As there is
a lack of experimental as well as longitudinal studies, observations are based on success stories and
correlations might not be causal. For example, good coping strategies might not be an effect but a
prerequisite of successful blogging. Similar criticism has been put forward earlier with regard to other
forms of reflective writing (O’Connell & Dyment, 2011). In contrast to studies on “writing therapy”, where
large numbers of experimental studies exist and writing was mandated and tested (Frattaroli, 2006;
Frisina et al., 2004; Smyth, 1998), blogging does not yet seem as readily applicable for this kind of
therapeutic intervention or experimental study. The reason for this might be an ethical issue. Because of
the public nature of weblogs, it might be difficult for therapists or tutors to give writing assignments that
require clients to go public with their problems. Although password-protected or anonymous blogging
might counteract this issue, some advantages of weblogs observed in studies with successful self-initiated
and public blogging might not be applicable to the same degree. While studies on “writing therapy” have
gone into great detail, testing different types of writing assignments, writing frequency, feedback on
writing or types of problems, research on blogging is at the very beginning and thus cannot offer such
high levels of detail, so far. Instead, many studies remain anecdotal und thus preserving much of the
“mystery” of previous creative writing therapy interventions (Wright & Chung, 2001). Thus, it still remains
unclear how and under which conditions blogging can be successfully mandated. Research on the general
use of blogging in higher education has shown that journal writing is not something that comes naturally,
and it can even be considered stressful in itself (Sim & Hew, 2010). Evidence shows that blogging needs
to be scaffolded by structured assignments (Berthold, Nückles, & Renkl, 2007; Boniel-Nissim & Barak,
2013; Freeman & Brett, 2012; Nückles, Hübner, & Renkl, 2012) and accompanied by affirmative coaching
(Brandt, Dalum, Skov-Ettrup, & Tolstrup, 2013; Lepore, Buzaglo, Lieberman, Golant, & Davey, 2011). In
addition, effects might not only come from individual blogging but from participation in a particular part of
the “blogosphere” (Leggatt-Cook & Chamberlain, 2012). Not only writing own weblogs and receiving
feedback from others on it, but also reading and commenting on weblogs of others might have an effect
on ones well-being. How and to what extend such support can be fostered in formal settings has yet to be
examined deeper. Finally, the question of how the use of weblogs can be combined with other computer-
based approaches to stress reduction should be addressed (e.g. Serino et al., 2013).
The findings provided in this paper might be limited in a number of ways. Our search query with regard to
“stress” and “coping” has intentionally been very narrow. As a trade-off, some studies on illness- or
therapy-related blogging that do not include these keywords are missing. In addition, the technological
tools and the social practice of blogging are constantly changing. In the last years, social networks and
microblogs have largely taken over, and what can count as blogging is not exactly clear cut. As this
review was rather narrative due to a lack of studies that qualify for a meta-analysis, many statements are
the result of descriptions and interpretations rather than measurements. Furthermore, findings must be
read with care because they are mainly based on research methodology documenting successful practices
and not providing much insight on possible drawbacks and risks. Future studies should thus also include
questions regarding the limitations and risks of this approach.
In conclusion, for people voluntarily choosing to write a weblog, this new approach combines the known
potentials of traditional journaling such as emotional venting and the cognitive reframing of problems in
new narrations with the new potentials of writing for an online community and receiving support. Blogging
can be done with different degrees on anonymity, so bloggers are able to create a personalized space
where they can feel comfortable to disclose their thoughts and feelings. Findings from studies on general
purpose blogging suggest that coping with stress ranks among the main reasons for blogging. In studies
focusing on bloggers with specific problems, voluntary bloggers reported weblogs to be an effective
means of stress reduction. However, this finding might suffer from a confirmation bias. There are still too
few experimental studies to conclude whether this approach can be used in mandated settings. Although
the general hype around the blogosphere is vanishing and blogging practices are becoming more diverse
with the prevalence of social networks, questions regarding specific uses for special purposes such as
coping continue to be of high relevance.
This work was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation under Grant number 100019_146054.
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Correspondence to:
Dominik Petko
Pädagogische Hochschule Schwyz
Zaystrasse 42
6410 Goldau
Email: dominik.petko(at)
About authors
Dominik Petko is Professor for educational technology and empirical research
methods at the Schwyz University of Teacher Education (PH Schwyz) in Switzerland.
Since 2003, he has directed the Institute for Media and Schools and is Dean for
Research and Development. His publications cover a broad range of topics in the field
of teaching and learning with technology in schools and in higher education. His most
recent works in teacher education focus on reflective weblog writing for dealing with
stress in pre-service teacher education internships.
Nives Egger studied educational psychology in Berne, Switzerland. From 2008 to
2012 she worked at the Berne University of Teacher Education (PH Bern) as a research
assistant. Since 2012, she has been working at the Schwyz University of Teacher
Education (PH Schwyz) in Switzerland as a research assistant. Her main research areas
are e-learning with weblogs, dealing with stress through the use of weblog writing, and
stress in teacher internships.
Felix Michael Schmitz, lic. phil, is a research collaborator at the Institute of Medical
Education (IML) at the University of Berne, Switzerland. He is engaged in three main
areas of activity: usability consulting, lecturing and research in higher education. He is
involved in several research projects that broadly aim at improving undergraduate
healthcare training. In 2013 he entered the PhD program at the Graduate School for
Health Sciences, and his thesis focuses on instructional approaches in the area of
patient-centered communication.
Alexandra Totter is a lecturer at the Zurich University of Teacher Education (PH
Zürich) in Switzerland and a member of the research center for school development.
She holds a Masters’ degree in psychology from the University of Vienna (Austria). Her
work and research is focused on the development of educational usage scenarios for
and the evaluation of multi-media-based learning and teaching environments, as well
as evaluation research as part of textbook development.
Thomas Hermann has a PhD in English and American literature. He has been a
lecturer in Media Education and Academic Writing at the Zurich University of Teacher
Education (PH Zürich) since 2002. As of January 2016 he will head the Media and
Didactics Center (MDZ) at the Thurgau University of Teacher Education (PH Thurgau) in
Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. His research interests focus firstly on media literacy,
especially visual literacy, visual expression of children and youths, visual
communications and the impact of pictures in teaching and learning environments, as
well as on the relationship between writing and learning in formal and informal
Sissel Guttormsen is a psychologist with a research track in cognitive science,
learning technologies and assessment. She has been a professor of medical education
since 2005 and the director of the Institute of Medical Education (IML) at the medical
faculty of Bern, Switzerland. At the IML she is actively promoting research into and
services for educational issues as well as professional high stake further education. She
has headed the establishment of the ‘Graduate School for Health Sciences’ at the
University of Bern and engages in the further development of these programs as well
as in the post-graduate course of ‘Master of Medical Education’ at the IML.
© 2007-2015 Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace | ISSN: 1802-7962
Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University | Contact | Editor: David Smahel
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The aim of this study is to analyse 15 coaches’ perceptions of an online coaching (OC) process designed to support early-career teachers’ transfer of self-regulation strategies in the context of a professional development (PD) programme. The coaches supported 49 primary school teachers working with professional OC software during a 5-month period. We used content analysis to analyse the interviews with the coaches after completion of the OC. Based on the coachees’ development level, coaches rated the OC as effective with reference to goal commitment, pursuit, attainment, coping with challenges, and reflection. Physical distance correlated with a disinhibiting effect, a collaborative and playful approach to using various tools, including the handover of responsibility for the process, increasing objectivation, and a focus on goals rather than emotion. In addition, a lack of nonverbal cues was observed that contrasted with the high level of language awareness. Reflecting on their new role, coaches showed different attitudes towards OC. The role of coaching and goal orientation in teacher education are discussed.KeywordsOnline coachingEffectivenessEarly-career teachers’ self-regulationTraining transferProfessional development
... In order to be able to intensively engage with a small and rather homogenous sample, we have decided to follow the blogs of five bloggers (including one of the authors) who were all working in Dhaka, Bangladesh as part of a skilled development volunteering program during 2014/2015. 3 These expatriates were Australian citizens who were temporarily residing in Bangladesh for the term of their 2 A few studies have emphasized the role of the internet, and blogs in particular, to offer social support across distance (Graham et al., 2009;Mikal, 2010;Nardi et al., 2004b;Nardon et al., 2015;Petko et al., 2015;Tan, 2008;Tandoc and Takahashi, 2017). On the other hand, the increasing use of social media and "digital cocooning" as way of dealing with homesickness and culture shock during stays abroad has been problematized particularly in the context of higher education (e.g. ...
... Further, the absence of the researcher during the construction of the blog posts avoids a bias towards the researcher's agenda, this way ceding power from the researcher to the participant (see e.g. Petko et al., 2015). As Banyai and Glover have pointed out, blog posts show "how experiences are 're-storied' by the bloggers in a way that enables them to create meanings" (Banyai and Glover, 2012: 272). ...
In the early 21st century, blogs exploded onto the digital media scene and soon became a popular means of travel writing. However, rather than considering blogs as a straightforward tool to simply share stories and experiences, in this article, we set out to explore the role of blogs as a mediating technology (Verbeek, 2005a), especially during difficult times abroad. By analysing the blogs of expatriate Australians who were volunteers in Bangladesh in 2014/2015 as well as interviews with the bloggers, we are able to show how the blogs' affordances inform the coping process, highlighted, in particular, in an active and highly reflective engagement with the blog's unique situatedness at the cusp of the public/private. In this way we wish to contribute to a better understanding of the ways in which “trusting oneself” to this specific communication technology (Kiran and Verbeek, 2010) is being experienced and facilitates sense-making in complex, and often stressful, human-world-technology relations. Foregrounding the ways in which blogs actively mediate and thus contribute to representations of the world, this article resonates with recent work on “earth writing” as a geographical practice (Springer, 2017; Wylie, 2018), and hopes to open up further debates on digital earth writing.
... Hier kommen Studien zu widersprüchlichen Ergebnissen: Bartholomew, Schoppe-Sullivan, Glassman, Kamp Dush, & Sullivan (2012) zeigen, dass die Nutzung von Facebook gerade bei jungen Eltern zu erhöhtem Stress führt. Im Gegensatz dazu zeigen Petko et al. (2015) in einer Metastudie, dass diese interaktiven Internetaktivitäten in besonderem Maße zur Bewältigung der Herausforderungen der Elternschaft beitragen. ...
... Die bisherige Forschung zu Blogs arbeitete die bedeutsame Rolle der Selbstthematisierung und -entblößung in den Blogs heraus, die als Ausdruck eines wachsenden Narzissmus gesehen wird (Brake, 2012). Die Selbstentblößung dient jedoch zugleich auch der Herstellung von Verbindungen zu anderen und ist als eine Art Währung zu sehen, mit der in der Welt der Social Network Sites bezahlt wird (Duggan et al., 2015;Petko et al., 2015;Stefanone & Jang, 2007). ...
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Die Corona-Krise hat die zunehmende Bedeutung der Blogs als digitale Kommunikations- und Interaktionsform sichtbar gemacht. Blogs dienen Familien als internetbasierte Form des Austauschs von Erfahrungen und als Darstellungsform ihres Selbstverständnisses von Familie. In der Corona-Ausnahmezeit sind sie wichtige Plattformen des Austauschs und der Solidarisierung von Familien geworden, die ihre unterschiedlichen Perspektiven und Bedürfnisse in den digitalen Diskursen von Eltern zum Ausdruck bringen. Vor allem der Mittelschicht dienen die Blogs als Ausdruck eines veränderten Anspruchs an sich selbst, an das Kind und an den Beruf. Es sind Symptome eines strukturellen gesellschaftlichen Wandels, der bereits vor der Coronakrise erkennbar war und sich besonders deutlich in veränderten Ansprüchen an Erziehung, Beruf und dem Neuverhandeln der Mutterrolle vollzieht. Dieser Prozess spiegelt sich in den Familienblogs wider und wird nach der Corona-Krise nichts an Bedeutung verlieren.
... Moreover, such extensive stress interventions can lack acceptance due to the fact that the state of 'being stressed' is increasingly seen as normal among medical students and that suffering from it may be viewed as a form of weakness [22]. Hence, there is a need for lowthreshold approaches that allow students both to identify stress and to deal with it appropriately without being stigmatized [23]. ...
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Abstract Background Breaking bad news (BBN; e.g., delivering a cancer diagnosis) is perceived as one of the most demanding communication tasks in the medical field and associated with high levels of stress. Physicians’ increased stress in BBN encounters can negatively impact their communication performance, and in the long term, patient-related health outcomes. Although a growing body of literature acknowledges the stressful nature of BBN, little has been done to address this issue. Therefore, there is a need for appropriate tools to help physicians cope with their stress response, so that they can perform BBN at their best. In the present study, we implement the biopsychosocial model of challenge and threat as theoretical framework. According to this model, the balance between perceived situational demands and perceived coping resources determines whether a stressful performance situation, such as BBN, is experienced as challenge (resources > demands) or threat (resources
... It is possible that this was a form of group therapy, the community was a way of coping with emotions left after finishing the game. Such instances, of seeking comfort online, are not uncommon (Stone et al., 2022; see also Petko et al., 2015;Raith et al., 2021). The second group made the personal growth from the game a reason for being happy after finishing it. ...
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Despite the fact that video games and gaming are one of the main focuses of scholars in the field of cyberpsychology, there are a lot of phenomena that hardly get any scientific cover. One of them is post-game depression, a term coined in the gamers community to express a specific state that some of them experience after playing certain video games. However, as to the authors' knowledge, there has been no research focusing on understanding that state. Based on the findings of narrative psychology, a narrative inquiry approach was chosen for the presented qualitative, exploratory study. Using guidelines from the interpretative phenomenological analysis, the final sample of 35 given narratives of players were analysed, of which 22 described post-game depression and 13 of narrators described reasons why they did not experience it. After comparing the results between the two groups, the general conclusion is that post-game depression is a state of media anhedonia and reminiscing about the game that gave a visceral, insightful, thought-provoking and emotionally driven experience where players had parasocial relationships with in-game characters and/or their avatars/protagonists. Possible buffer factors can be personal growth from the experience and a fulfilling ending for the player. It is important to further understand what other factors, for example, personal traits of the players and specific game mechanics, contribute to that state since it can be a possible cause of serious psychological distress on the one hand, on the other a possible phase of being personally enriched by the experience of playing certain video games.
... Although many social media users and online community members will be exposed to both media and community content that reflects peripsychiatric conditions or self-diagnosed conditions, most will not adopt peri-psychiatric behaviors or conditions and/or seek professional clinical assistance. Indeed, positive effects of online social communities for coping with stress, relationship-building, and for enhancing feelings of belonging and shared experience among people experiencing mental illness, as well as other minority and marginalized groups, have been described [35,36,38,57,58]. What is needed in our view is an integrative explanatory framework for what places a seemingly increasing subset of individuals at-risk for or more vulnerable to adopting peri-psychiatric behaviors or conditions. ...
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There has been an increasing recognition among both medical and psychological professionals, as well as the public media, of a concerning trend for child and adolescent users of audiovisual-based, algorithmic social media platforms (e.g., TikTok) to present with or claim functional psychiatric impairment that is inconsistent with or distinct from classic psychiatric nosology. In this personal viewpoint, we provide an comprehensive historical overview of this transdiagnostic phenomenon and suggest a conceptual model to organize thinking and research examining it. We then discuss the implications of our suggested model for accurate assessment, diagnosis, and medical-psychiatric treatment. We believe there is an urgent need for focused empirical research investigation into this concerning phenomenon that is related to the broader research and discourse examining social media influences on mental health.
... They allow for interpretation (perceiving meaningful patterns instead of chaos) of the status quo, allow for projections into the future (what-ifs) and thus provide the basis for perceived control, resulting in stress alleviation (storytelling and narrative transportation). The stress alleviating effects of individual narratives are well established (Petko et al., 2015), and we argue that on a societal level, collective narratives can unfold a comparable effect of providing meaning to group members after the injection of ambiguous information into a social or sociotechnical system. The collective sensemaking following such a grey signal injection provides analogue to knowledge-based perceptual closure following the eradication of ambiguity. ...
Humans quickly and effortlessly impose narrative context onto ambiguous stimuli, as demonstrated through psychological projective testing and ambiguous figures. We suggest that this feature of human cognition may be weaponized as part of an information operation. Such Ambiguous Self-Induced Disinformation (ASID) attacks would employ the following elements: the introduction of a culturally consistent narrative, the presence of ambiguous stimuli, the motivation for hypervigilance, and a social network. ASID attacks represent a reduced-risk, low-investment on the part of the adversary with a potentially significant reward, making this a likely tactic of choice for information operators within the context of gray-zone conflicts.
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Ausgangspunkt dieses Beitrags ist die Familie als primäre Sozialisationsinstanz und zentraler Ort kindlicher Bildung. Der gesellschaftliche Wandel konfrontiert Familien mit weitreichenden Herausforderungen und verstärkt das generelle Bedürfnis von Eltern nach Rat und Unterstützung. Aufgrund der zunehmenden Mediatisierung werden auch die Sozialen Medien für Familien immer bedeutsamer, da sie ihnen einen Raum für Informationen, Erfahrungsaustausch und Unterstützung bieten. Bislang ist jedoch ungeklärt, wie sich die Rezeption des Social Web auf Eltern auswirkt. Daher wird übergreifend danach gefragt, inwiefern die zunehmende Nutzung des Social Web, insbesondere von Familienblogs, die Familie beeinflusst. Auf Basis eines Mixed-Methods-Designs wurde zunächst eine quantitative Online-Befragung und anschliessend eine qualitative Interviewstudie durchgeführt, die den Schwerpunkt der Untersuchung bildet. Die ersten Ergebnisse zeigen: Die Rezipient:innen von Familienblogs sind eine vordergründig homogene Gruppe von Eltern, die sich hauptsächlich online über kindbezogene Themen informieren, subjektiv ‹wertvolle› Blogs rezipieren und ausgewählten Content in ihr «Doing Family» (Jurczyk 2018) transformieren. Dieser Beitrag thematisiert erste ausgewählte Ergebnisse.
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Background Skin conditions can detract from people’s quality of life, much like conditions such as cancer, chronic pain, and depression. Visible skin conditions can lead to risk of stigmatization. It is acknowledged that there is a lack of available psychosocial support for people living with chronic skin conditions. One way in which individuals with long-term conditions are self-managing and providing peer support is through blogging and exchanging information on the web. To date, no research has specifically investigated how individuals with skin conditions experience the use blogging for self-management. Objective This study sought to investigate the experiences of individuals with visible, long-term skin conditions when blogging about their conditions. Methods A systematic blog search and a short survey were used for recruitment. A total of 4 participants took part in email interviews, which were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Skin conditions included alopecia, psoriasis, and hirsutism. The content of these individuals’ blogs was also analyzed using a qualitative template method derived from the IPA analysis. Results The interviews and accounts revealed a clear sense of uncertainty about the course of the bloggers’ skin conditions. This appeared to be associated with feelings of distress and isolation, searching for treatments, and ultimately a sense of defeat. The data revealed that blogging provided a space where this sense of defeat was managed and challenged. Posting on the web facilitated connection with others and enabled support networks to be established that assisted in challenging the feelings of isolation experienced. The data demonstrate the important role that blogging played for these participants in developing a sense of acceptance of their condition. Conclusions Blogging may provide a way for individuals to self-manage distress associated with visible skin conditions. It may provide similar benefits to those known to be derived from emotional disclosure that occurs during writing, with an added peer support dimension. Blogging has occurred naturalistically on web-based forums, and this study demonstrates how this form of interaction may warrant adaptation for use with web-based psychosocial interventions for people living with skin conditions. This study had a limited sample of 4 bloggers; therefore, further exploration would be needed to consider the utility of this approach.
Many models of health and illness are available for use by family physicians as guides in delivering health care to their patients. A model is a belief system or plan for making sense of the puzzling phenomena confronting patients and physicians.
Although the expressive writing paradigm has generally produced positive health outcomes, a recurring puzzle concerns how and why it works. No single theory or theoretical perspective has convincingly explained its effectiveness. This may be attributable to the fact that expressive writing affects people on multiple levels-cognitive, emotional, social, and biological-making a single explanatory theory unlikely. In addition to addressing theory-relevant questions, researchers and therapists must now address when and with whom writing is most beneficial and, at the same time, evaluate if this (and other) intervention produces economically valuable outcomes.
Upon learning about an HIV-positive status, the individual is often faced with immense psychological stress. Besides coming to terms with a life-threatening disease, fears of stigma and discrimination are often attributed as stressors. The purpose of this chapter is to explore blogging as a tool to cope with a lifelong and highly stigmatized disease such as HIV/AIDS. A literature review and content analysis of six HIV-positive individuals' blogs indicate that blogging can be regarded as a tool for coping with HIV and potentially a form of self-administered therapy. Due to the ephemeral nature of blogs, the case blogs were revisited after 7 months to determine if they had been maintained. The fact that all six were still being updated regularly indicates that the bloggers found blogging about HIV/AIDS beneficial in one or several ways.
This chapter addresses the confluence of two sets of processes-stress and coping-as they come to bear on health. It first addresses the following questions: What defines the experience of stress? What defines coping? What sorts of distinctions among coping responses are useful, or even necessary? Finally, how do processes of stress and coping interweave to influence health? Addressing this last question entails confronting at least two further issues: What boundaries must be placed around the construct of "health," and by what pathways might health be affected by stress and coping? After considering these issues, the chapter describes selected evidence from several areas of research on how stress and coping influence health.
High quality learning is extensive, well integrated, deep, and supports the use of knowledge in new situations that require adaptation of what has been learned previously. This book reviews current research on the nature of high quality learning and the factors that facilitate or inhibit it. The book addresses relationships between quality of learning and learners' dispositions, teaching methods, cognitive strategies, assessment and technologies that can support learning. The chapters provide theoretical analyses, reports of classroom research, and suggestions for practical application for both teachers and learners. The book will be of value to teachers at all levels of education and provides guidance for students about how to approach classroom tasks in order to develop high quality learning.
Objective To compile and evaluate the evidence on the effects on health and social outcomes of computer based peer to peer communities and electronic self support groups, used by people to discuss health related issues remotely. Design and data sources Analysis of studies identified from Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Evidence Based Medicine Reviews, Electronics and Communications Abstracts, Computer and Information Systems Abstracts, ERIC, LISA, ProQuest Digital Dissertations, Web of Science. Selection of studies We searched for before and after studies, interrupted time series, cohort studies, or studies with control groups; evaluating health or social outcomes of virtual peer to peer communities, either as stand alone interventions or in the context of more complex systems with peer to peer components. Main outcome measures Peer to peer interventions and co-interventions studied, general characteristics of studies, outcome measures used, and study results. Results 45 publications describing 38 distinct studies met our inclusion criteria: 20 randomised trials, three meta-analyses of n of 1 trials, three non-randomised controlled trials, one cohort study, and 11 before and after studies. Only six of these evaluated “pure” peer to peer communities, and one had a factorial design with a “peer to peer only” arm, whereas 31 studies evaluated complex interventions, which often included psychoeducational programmes or one to one communication with healthcare professionals, making it impossible to attribute intervention effects to the peer to peer community component. The outcomes measured most often were depression and social support measures; most studies did not show an effect. We found no evidence to support concerns over virtual communities harming people. Conclusions No robust evidence exists of consumer led peer to peer communities, partly because most peer to peer communities have been evaluated only in conjunction with more complex interventions or involvement with health professionals. Given the abundance of unmoderated peer to peer groups on the internet, research is required to evaluate under which conditions and for whom electronic support groups are effective and how effectiveness in delivering social support electronically can be maximised.