Title

DEALING WITH DEMENTIA: HOW ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE CAREGIVER-SPOUSES/PARTNERS, PATIENTS, AND CAREGIVERS USE ONLINE SUPPORT GROUPS TO COPE

Date of Award

8-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mass Communications

Advisor(s)

T. Makana Chock

Keywords

Alzheimer's, Coping, Online support groups

Subject Categories

Medicine and Health Sciences | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

This dissertation examines how Alzheimer's disease caregiver-spouses/partners, patients, and caregivers use online support groups to cope with the stress of dementia. Using Lazarus and Folkman's transactional model of stress and coping as a theoretical framework, as well as a coding scheme, a content analysis of 568 posts to online support groups for caregiver-spouses/partners, patients, and caregivers was conducted. The differences between the independent variables poster status (i.e., caregiver-spouse/partner, patient, caregiver), poster gender, post length, group participation level, and emoticons and the dependent variables emotion- and problem-focused coping style, coping category, and coping strategies were explored. Analyses for all posts and at the poster group level revealed that posts from caregiver-spouses/partners and caregivers contained more emotion-focused coping than patient posts. Gender, post length, group participation level, and presence of emoticons revealed varied results.

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