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

Poole, R., Smith, D. and Simpson, S. (2015) How patients contribute to an online psychoeducation forum for bipolar disorder: a virtual participant observation study. JMIR Mental Health, 2(3), e21. (doi:10.2196/mental.4123) (PMID:26543925) (PMCID:PMC4607375)

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Abstract

Background: In a recent exploratory randomized 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 behaviors and quality of life. Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate 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 Bipolar Interactive PsychoEDucation (“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 analyzed 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 humor. 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 inexpensive 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 health care forums.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smith, Professor Daniel and Simpson, Professor Sharon
Authors: Poole, R., Smith, D., and Simpson, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:JMIR Mental Health
Publisher:JMIR Publications, Inc
ISSN:2368-7959
ISSN (Online):2368-7959
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in JMIR Mental Health 2(2):e21
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727661SPHSU Core Renewal: Complexity in Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/14IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
620221MRC SPHSU/GU Transfer FellowshipsLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_PC_13027IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU