The underrepresentation of African Americans in online cancer support groups

Joshua Fogel, Kurt M. Ribisl, Phyllis D. Morgan, Keith Humphreys, Elizabeth Lyons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Internet is increasingly important for many cancer survivors because it provides access to the latest information on cancer treatments and also allows them to receive support by participating in online cancer support groups. Unfortunately, little is known about why African-American cancer survivors are underrepresented in online cancer support groups. This article reviews the relevant literature and discusses three possible explanations for why African Americans are underrepresented in online cancer support groups: the digital divide/digital inequality, preferences for face-to-face support or culture-specific online support, and trust concerns. We conclude that a health inequity exists with regard to the utilization of information that can be obtained from online cancer support groups. However, with regard to the potential benefits of the psychosocial and emotional support aspect of online cancer support groups, a health inequity may not exist, as African Americans have other preferred avenues for obtaining needed support, and there is no evidence that this is detrimental to their health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-712
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Volume100
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

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Self-Help Groups
African Americans
Neoplasms
Survivors
Health
Access to Information
Internet

Keywords

  • African Americans
  • Cancer
  • Race/ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

The underrepresentation of African Americans in online cancer support groups. / Fogel, Joshua; Ribisl, Kurt M.; Morgan, Phyllis D.; Humphreys, Keith; Lyons, Elizabeth.

In: Journal of the National Medical Association, Vol. 100, No. 6, 06.2008, p. 705-712.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fogel, J, Ribisl, KM, Morgan, PD, Humphreys, K & Lyons, E 2008, 'The underrepresentation of African Americans in online cancer support groups', Journal of the National Medical Association, vol. 100, no. 6, pp. 705-712.
Fogel, Joshua ; Ribisl, Kurt M. ; Morgan, Phyllis D. ; Humphreys, Keith ; Lyons, Elizabeth. / The underrepresentation of African Americans in online cancer support groups. In: Journal of the National Medical Association. 2008 ; Vol. 100, No. 6. pp. 705-712.
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