Giving and Receiving Peer Advice in an Online Breast Cancer Support Group

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People have access to experiential information and advice about health online. The types of advice exchanged affect the nature of online communities and potentially patient decision making. The aim of this study was to examine the ways in which peers exchange advice within an online health forum in order to better understand online groups as a resource for decision making. Messages collected over a one-month period from an online breast cancer support forum were analyzed for examples of advice exchange. The majority of the messages solicited advice through problem disclosure or requests for information and opinion. A novel form of advice solicitation—“anyone in the same boat as me”—was noted as was the use of personal experience as a form of advice giving. Women construct their advice requests to target like-minded people. The implications in terms of decision making and support are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-485
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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