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How patients contribute to an online psychoeducation forum for bipolar disorder: a virtual participant observation study

Poole, Ria, Smith, Daniel and Simpson, Sharon Anne 2015. How patients contribute to an online psychoeducation forum for bipolar disorder: a virtual participant observation study. JMIR Mental Health 2 (3) , e21. 10.2196/mental.4123

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Abstract

Background In a recent exploratory randomised controlled trial, an online psychoeducation intervention for bipolar disorder has been found to be feasible and acceptable to patients and may positively impact on their self-management behaviours and quality of life. Objectives We investigated how these patients contribute to an online forum for bipolar disorder and the issues relevant for them. Methods Participants in the intervention arm of the BIPED trial were invited to contribute to the Beating Bipolar forum alongside receiving interactive online psychoeducation modules. Within this virtual participant observation study, forum posts were analysed using thematic analysis, incorporating aspects of discourse analysis. Results The key themes which arose from the forum posts included: medication, employment, stigma, social support, coping strategies, insight and acceptance, the life chart and negative experiences of health care. Participants frequently provided personal narratives relating to their history of bipolar disorder, life experiences and backgrounds, which often contained emotive language and humour. They regularly sought and offered advice, and expressed encouragement and empathy. The forum would have benefitted from more users to offer a greater support network with more diverse views and experiences. Conclusions Online forums are cheap to provide and may offer peer support and the opportunity for patients to share their experiences and explore issues related to their illness anonymously. Future research should focus on how to enhance patient engagement with online healthcare forums.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bipolar disorder, psychoeducation, internet, forum, qualitative
Publisher: JMIR Publications
ISSN: 2368-7959
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2019 09:30
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/73689

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