Patients' self-efficacy within online health communities: facilitating chronic disease self-management behaviors through peer education
In order to combat the growing burden of chronic disease, evidence-based self-management programs have been designed to teach patients about the disease and its affect on their lives.
Willis E. Patients' self-efficacy within online health communities: facilitating chronic disease self-management behaviors through peer education. Health Commun. 2016 Mar;31(3):299-307. Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10410236.2014.950019
Self-efficacy is a key component in chronic disease self-management. This research used online ethnography and discourse analysis (N=8,231) to examine self-efficacy within the computer-mediated communication (CMC) of four online health communities used by people with arthritis. Specifically, online opinion leaders were identified for examination. Across the four communities, there was a cyclical process that involved disease veterans sharing their experiences and gaining credibility within the community, new(er) members suffering from disease symptoms and sharing their experiences online, and finally, asking others for help with arthritis self-management behaviors. Three themes follow: (1) sharing disease experience, (2) suffering from disease symptoms, and (3) asking for help. Practical implications for health promotion and education are discussed.