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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Douglas Matheson

Fourth Committee Member



Previous research has shown that face-to-face social support groups are effective in alleviating distress among patients coping with chronic illnesses. No research has focused on the effectiveness of social support groups on the internet. This study assessed the value of online support groups for dialysis patients afflicted with chronic kidney disease. Three dialysis patients who had access to a computer and the internet participated in an online support group devoted to dialysis patients and their family members for 3 to 5 weeks. Results indicated that the participants' knowledge of kidney disease did not improve over the 6-week intervention. Results did not yield clear evidence to support the hypotheses that online support groups decrease depression and learned helplessness. However, results of this study demonstrated that the 3 dialysis patients in this study maintained use of the online support group throughout the duration of the project by providing instructions and weekly prompts.




9780599258396 , 059925839X

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