"We're living in an era of facebook and blogs. It's a familiar and comfortable space" : exploring the use of virtual support groups by women diagnosed with breast cance.

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dc.contributor.author Kgatitswe, Lesego Bertha
dc.date.accessioned 2012-07-02T07:28:41Z
dc.date.available 2012-07-02T07:28:41Z
dc.date.issued 2012-07-02
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/11578
dc.description.abstract This research project explores the use of virtual support groups by women diagnosed with breast cancer in South Africa. Through a content analysis of the online forums and eight in-depth interviews with women of various backgrounds (age, race and socio-economic status) it becomes evident that women use these virtual spaces for information exchange, sense of belonging, search for meaning and most significantly support. Various factors within the illness experience of breast cancer influence the initial use, continuation, breaks and withdrawal from of these online forums. The analysis of online forums is framed around concepts of lay consultation, gender, adaptation theory and social capital to conceptualise and make sense of these virtual interactions. The virtual groups allow women to read and write on breast cancer according to their perceptions and experiences, thereby lessening the dominant medical power to create space for their personal voices. The interactions on the forums foster a sense of empowerment, social support and social engagement critical to their wellbeing and adaptation to the condition. This study also brings attention to the lack of studies about virtual groups within the South African context which is increasingly becoming significant as more and more individuals use virtual groups as part of health lay interaction and consultation. en_ZA
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.subject Breast cancer en_ZA
dc.subject Virtual support groups en_ZA
dc.subject Facebook en_ZA
dc.subject Blogs en_ZA
dc.title "We're living in an era of facebook and blogs. It's a familiar and comfortable space" : exploring the use of virtual support groups by women diagnosed with breast cance. en_ZA
dc.type Thesis en_ZA


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