Mifsud, A and Potts, H Comparing experiences within face-to-face and online support groups for persons living with HIV/AIDS. In: (Proceedings) British Psychological Society Annual Conference 2012. (pp. 51 - 51).
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Objectives: There are many face-to-face and online support groups (OSGs) for persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), but to date no studies comparing experiences across the two types of group. Design: Exploratory qualitative study using semi-structured interviews. Methods: Seven face-to-face interviews with PLWHA involved in face-to-face groups based in London. Seven interviews, using email or Skype, with PLWHA involved in international OSGs. A grounded theory methodology was used to guide data collection and analysis. Results: The study revealed several shared elements between participants’ support group experiences and also a few differences. Most participants using face-to-face and OSGs were satisfied with their support group experiences and shared common reasons for joining and remaining in their groups. With the exception of tangible support, which was only mentioned by those in face-to-face groups, participants reported several common empowering processes, including receiving information, obtaining emotional support, achieving a sense of belonging, a redefinition of the sick role, finding positive meaning and hope, and developing social networks. Information was given more weight by online participants; emotional support and a sense of community were more prevalent among face-to-face participants. The type of discussions in face-to-face and OSGs were similar, but online participants adopted a more guarded attitude about disclosing private life issues. Funding was the only negative aspect mentioned by face-to-face participants, whereas interpersonal conflicts were more prevalent in OSGs. Conclusions: Face-to-face and OSGs have much to offer to PLWHA. OSGs can be an alternative source of support to the traditional face-to-face groups.
|Title:||Comparing experiences within face-to-face and online support groups for persons living with HIV/AIDS|
|Event:||British Psychological Society Annual Conference 2012|
|Dates:||2012-03-18 - 2012-03-20|
|UCL classification:||UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care > CHIME|
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