A study has been published in Health Expectations on the use of discussion groups by people with diabetes, exploring their experiences of accessing support and empowerment online.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 21 participants with type 1 and 2 diabetes and analysed using thematic analysis. Participants were recruited via online and offline routes, namely discussion boards, newsletters, and research networks related to diabetes.
The authors found that by drawing on the advice, information, and support shared online, participants were empowered to position themselves as active participants in their own health care and to further engage with health-care professionals.
The study concludes that that forums can play a valuable role in aiding and motivating individuals in the daily management diabetes and the findings highlight how this support is used to complement formal health services. However, more work needs to be carried out to determine to explore when and under what circumstances online support may be particularly beneficial to those with long-term conditions.
You can read the full study here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/hex.12552/abstract?campaign=wolearlyview
Brady E, Segar J, Sanders C. Accessing support and empowerment online: The experiences of individuals with diabetes. Health Expect. 2017;00:1-8. https://doi.org/10.1111/hex.12552