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Coping with illness online: The case of patients' online communities

Journal article
Authors Ulrika Josefsson
Published in The Information Society
Volume 21
Issue 2
Pages 143-153
ISSN 1087-6537
Publication year 2005
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Pages 143-153
Language en
Keywords coping, design, health information, information technology, individuals, Internet, online communities, social support
Subject categories


This article identifies and analyzes characteristics of patients’ online communities (POC) in Sweden. Using a qualitative approach, it presents a fine-grained picture of the communities covering both the structural and cultural factors. Acknowledging the debate about quality of health information online and the potential risks of e-health, the article argues that a deeper understanding of the dynamics of POC, which offer unique aides for the coping process of chronically ill patients, can contribute to the design of the emergent forms of Internet-based health care resources.

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