Social Networks - Supporting Social networks for people with LTC
This group, led by Dr Neil Coulson, examines the role of online peer support for those affected by long-term conditions. In particular, this work examines the therapeutic potential of participation within online connected communities (e.g. asynchronous discussion forums, social networking) and seeks to identify and describe the factors underpinning engagement with online peer support, the ‘active ingredients’ within peer support communities as well as the psychosocial and clinical outcomes associated with engagement.
To date, this group has examined a range of long-term conditions (e.g. Inflammatory Bowel Disease, HIV/AIDS, dental phobia, infertility) as well as long-term problem behaviours (e.g. alcohol misuse) and works collaboratively with a range of patient focussed charities to develop online support provision.
Current studies include an analysis of support needs of patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) through innovative use of technology (NIHR funded) and the experiences of individuals who access Meniere’s disease online support communities (funded by the Meniere’s Society).
Members: Dr Neil Coulson, Dr Heather Buchanan, Richard Smedley (PhD student). Previous PhD students include Dr Sumaira Malik, Dr Phoenix Mo, Dr Oonagh Meade and Dr Kasia Campbell.
Methodological Expertise: This group employs a range of research methods including qualitative analysis (e.g. thematic, content, IPA) as well as quantitative online surveys, interviews and focus groups. The group has pioneered the development of online forum message analysis and has contributed to the development of ethics guidelines for internet-mediated research by the British Psychological Society.
Exploring the experiences of individuals who access Meniere’s disease online support communities (2013-2014) funded by the Meniere’s Society
This project seeks to examine the experience of participation in online support groups and how this may empower members. The project seeks to learn from members about both positive and negative experiences surrounding the use of online support and identify areas for development and improvement.
Meeting the support needs of patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) through innovative use of technology (2012-2013)
This NIHR funded project seeks to explore how participation in a CRPS online support community can benefit members and explores how peers may support each other online. In addition, the project includes a collaborative writing task to engage members in identifying the key messages they wish to promote to the wider world about life with CRPS (e.g. employment issues).
Social support in cyberspace
The role of online support communities in supporting individuals living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This work is funded by the National Association of Colitis and Crohn's Disease.
Problem drinking and peer support in cyberspace
This work is funded by the Alcohol Education Research Council.