Draft – Results and Findings

Here is a draft of my chapter 5 – results and findings sections. I haven’t uploaded any of the graphs(you’ll have to wait until my thesis is finished for those, meanwhile, enjoy some tables) and plus – university comupters aren’t the best at uploading multiple things at once, but you get the idea. Any comments are welcomed, I am getting closer and closer to the editing stage of my thesis and will be calling in many favours for you all to read my final thesis to make sure that it is up to scratch for submission in October! Not long to go! Still so much to do! Very exciting stuff!

Chapter Five: Results and Findings

This chapter will present the results obtained from the research conducted and will discuss the affiliation between results collected using qualitative and quantitative methods and their relationship. It will present the survey and content analysis findings and discuss the implications of these results in relation to the study.

Respondents
The quantitative Chronic Pain Support Group survey link was shared across five closed Chronic Pain specific groups for a two week period and across this time, the survey had 108 respondents. The total number of people across the five closed groups equated to 1084 members. 87% of respondents identified as female and 13% as male.

Table
Respondents within age groups (survey)

Gender 18 – 25 26 – 35 36 – 45 46 – 55 56 +
Male 2 2 3 4 3
Female 7 18 30 27 12
TOTAL 9 20 33 31 15

Respondents were segmented into age groups to determine what age group and gender were the most likely to seek support and help to understand the gender and age composition of closed Chronic Pain Facebook groups. The average age of respondents in this survey was 38.3 years. In spite of this, age did not significantly affect participation, as research might have been predicted. Group members varied in age, but participants were more likely to be older in the particular groups surveyed.

Table
Survey composition of relationship with Chronic Pain (survey)

Value Count Percent
I am living with Chronic Pain 95 88.0%
I am a carer for someone with Chronic Pain 14 13.0%
I have a family member that has Chronic Pain 17 15.7%

The majority of respondents who tool this survey identified as living with Chronic Pain. This was also the case with the closed Facebook group that was analysed, the majority of the group was made up of people who were living with Chronic Pain.

Table
Importance of access to Facebook support groups

Gender   Very Important Important Somewhat important Slightly important Not important
Male 9 4 1 0 0
Female 55 27 9 3 0
TOTAL   64 31 10 3 0

The majority of both men and women respondent believe that it is very important for people to have access to Facebook support groups and only three women identified the access to Facebook support groups as ‘slightly important’. 60% of the survey respondents believe that it is very important to have access to Chronic Pain specific support groups on Facebook and 30% believe that it is important to have access to these groups. As this survey has only questioned Chronic Pain specific support groups on Facebook, it is interesting to note these parameters as there are many Chronic Pain specific support groups that are hosted on other websites.

Figure
Importance of access to Facebook support groups

 

Figure
How respondents found the support group

Many respondents found the Chronic Pain support group that they are a part of through a Facebook search or by getting referred to the group by a friend (see Figure above). Only a very small percentage noted that they found the group through a search engine and this is likely to be because the group is Facebook specific. Other responses of how members found these groups included, respondent was friends with one of the group creators, created the group themselves or saw a suggestion on their Facebook sidebar.

Figure
Main reason for joining support group

There are many reasons why people feel motivated to join support groups online. Often the purpose of a support group is to provide emotional support and information to people that are living with a shared problem (Schiff, 2000), and the online module makes this process easier. The main reason for survey respondents to join a Chronic Pain specific support group on Facebook was to meet and speak with people who have a similar condition or that care for people with a similar condition. Many respondents also noted to gaining support and guidance from people as an important reason why they joined an online support network.
Participation in online support groups is also source of empowerment for patients and their families. Feeling informed, increased confidence with physicians, increased acceptance, confidence, optimism and enhanced social well-being (Blank, Schmidt, et. al., 2010) all contribute to the wellbeing of people who are living with Chronic Pain and their families. A survey conducted by Annenberg National Health Communication shows that about a third of people diagnosed with chronic health conditions reported visiting OSGs devoted to their health issues (Annenberg National Health Communication Survey, 2008) and this has only increased with the popularity of social media based support groups.

Figure
Other support services

The management of Chronic Pain for an individual and their families should be examined holistically, encompassing a range of support services (Glenn & Burns, 2003). Advances in telecommunications mean that patients and their families now have a greater access to information about pain and painful conditions online, but much more reliance on this medium for all information (Keogh, Rosser & Eccleston, 2010). Family and friend support ranked highest at 59%, followed by Pain clinics (through a hospital) at 27% and 22% of respondents not participating in any other support services (see Figure above). Whilst online support groups are revolutionising the way in which we can communicate and gain support with Chronic Pain and other chronic conditions, it is still imperative to note the importance of proper diagnosis and a relationship with a General Practitioner to review the progress of self-management and monitor conditions (Kawi, 2013).

The qualitative analysis of the closed Facebook group “Chronic Pain Support goup – https://www.facebook.com/groups/218098494907809/” was undertaken over a two week period and analysed using Nvivo. The group’s gender composition was very comparable to the gender divide seen in the quantitative survey.
Table
Respondent gender percentages (group analysis)

Value Count Percent
Male 27 11.0%
Female 227 89.0%

It is interesting also to note that over the two week research period, there was no record of a male respondent posting or commenting within the group, although they make up 11% of the group’s members. This is insightful as approximately the same figures of gender make up were recorded in both types of the research undertaken for this study.

Table
Themes of posts (group analysis)

Thematic of post Count Percent
Chronic Pain experience shares 11 61.0%
Coping strategies 5 28.0%
Chronic Pain questions 2 11.0%

Thematic of posts were established during the data collection stage of the research and divided the total posts collected into different themes. The most prominent themes posted about within the group over the research period were Chronic Pain experience shares. Members within the group shared their experiences of Chronic Pain with others and the responses dictated that members, because they were living with Chronic Pain themselves had a greater knowledge of the conditions that were posted about and thus could offer a greater level of support and understanding.
In this analysis, types of posts were coded to reflect if they were classified as a ‘share’ or as a ‘question’. The ‘question’ post below that was sent by a member of the group uses very evocative language, explaining her struggles to the group members and then at the end of the post asking for assistance by posting “but what should I do?”
Example of Question Post:

Example of Share Post:

The ‘share’ post in this instance is not specific to an ‘experience share’ of Chronic Pain, however it shows how people express their feelings through artworks before during and after having an attack. Sharing coping strategies, such as this one, is very important for members within the group as everyone will have a different way of coping and living with their conditions.

These types of posts reiterate the importance of these kind of support groups, as a place where people feel as they are able to share insights into their Chronic Pain and how they live with their conditions on a day to day basis. The majority of the quantitative survey respondents believe that it is important for people living with Chronic Pain and their families to have access to these types of groups. As exemplified by the above examples, the types of posts made in these groups help to give an understanding as to why they are so important for their members; offering a judgement free place of understanding, where members of the group can offer comparable experiences or advice as they have gone through similar trials.

Figure
Word Cloud (group analysis)

 

In the analysis of conversations, like the ones taking place in the Chronic Pain Support Group, it is important to help identify key issues, trends and opinions. Using the Word Cloud above created with Nvivo, the themes that are dominant within the text analysed are ‘pain’ and ‘getting’ better. The tone is primarily neutral with only one strongly positive word (liking) and no negative words featured prominently. The style is very active; many verbs and emotive description words being highlighted, such as ‘hoping’ and ‘trying’.

Works Cited

Annenberg National Health Communication Survey.(2008).ANHCS 2008 data set.

Blank T.O., Schmidt S.D., Vangsness S.A., Monteiro AK, Santagata PV (2010). Differences among breast and prostate cancer online support groups. Computer Human Behaviour 26:1400–4.

Glenn, B., & Burns, J. W. (2003). Pain self-management in the process and outcome of multidisciplinary treatment of chronic pain: Evaluation of a stage of change model. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 26(5), 417-33. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1025720017595

Kawi, J. (2013). Self-Management and Support in Chronic Pain Subgroups: Integrative Review. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners 9(2): 110-115.e115.

Keogh, E., Rosser, B. A., & Eccleston, C. (2010). e-Health and chronic pain management: Current status and developments. PAIN 151(1): 18-21.

Schiff, M. (2000). Helping characteristics of self-help and support groups. Small Group Research, 31, 275-305.

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