Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can online peer support groups help those with mental illness?

Date:
February 23, 2011
Source:
Temple University
Summary:
Despite not finding any evidence of benefit from a statistical standpoint, researchers said participants still felt online peer support groups were helpful.

Millions of people dealing with health issues have found comfort sharing their stories online with others who experience similar ailments, but research on their clinical effectiveness is limited, and findings are mixed. Among people with mental illnesses, the results are sparser, even though research has shown that this group prefers online peer support groups over face-to-face support groups.

To that end, Mark Salzer, chair of the Rehabilitation Department at Temple University, studied the effectiveness of online peer support for people with a mental illness in what is only the second randomized, controlled trial of internet peer support -- the first, also conducted by Salzer and colleagues -- looked at its effectiveness among women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

The study, which published this month in Social Science and Medicine, studied the well-being of 300 participants with severe mental illnesses including schizophrenia-spectrum, bipolar, and depressive disorders, who were assigned to an email list-serv, a bulletin board online community, or a control group.

After a year, Salzer and his group found that participation in the online peer support groups did not have much of an effect on the patients' well being from a statistical standpoint; however, Salzer did find evidence that the participants who were assigned to the online peer support groups felt the groups were relevant, supportive, and beneficial.

"These groups likely provide some degree of comfort in sharing a similar experience," said Salzer. "While we can't yet quantify the benefit with our measurements, it does appear that participants benefit in online contacts with one another."

Salzer notes that the lack of statistical evidence for the effectiveness of these groups shouldn't deter doctors from allowing their patients to use them.

"If anything, clinicians should become more familiar with online groups because of their prevalence," he said. "They should be discussing their use with clients, and talking about ways to safely navigate online resources to get the maximum benefit."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Temple University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Temple University. "Can online peer support groups help those with mental illness?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110223122421.htm>.
Temple University. (2011, February 23). Can online peer support groups help those with mental illness?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110223122421.htm
Temple University. "Can online peer support groups help those with mental illness?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110223122421.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins