Can Virtual Or Internet Based Support Groups Help a Patient Recover Emotionally and Physically

How effective are these virtual or internet support groups? Eysenbach G. (2004) sought to answer this question. He with a group of researchers sought to evaluate evidence on effects on social and health outcomes of computer based peer to peer communities and electronic self support groups that are used to discuss issues remotely. They found 38 distinct studies that met their criteria and most studies dealt with depression and social support systems and they found no evidence of these communities harming people. They found that most of the internet communities were in some kind of involvement with conventional medical staff. They still feel that more studies should be made to find out how virtual or internet based support groups can be maximized.

The effectiveness of any support group has to be in correlation to the individual experiences that are shared. Most people who start a support group are very introverted at the beginning because they do not know what to expect or what to say. It takes the veteran members to show the new member the new norms and expectations of the group. The individual has to be open to the suggestions and be able to share after a certain amount of time. The willingness to share and to become apart of the group is apart of the total by in of the system. The more the patient is bought in, the more positive results should be felt. These results should be immediate with the amount of anxiety the person feels and more delayed with the physical side of the issue than the emotional.

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