Relationship development among chronically ill women in a computer-mediated environment
AuthorHrabe, David Paul
KeywordsHealth Sciences, Mental Health.
Health Sciences, Nursing.
AdvisorBadger, Terry A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to determine the stages and processes of relationship development in a computer-mediated support group. Using grounded theory methodology, a secondary data analysis was conducted of 22 weeks of textual message exchanges among 15 chronically ill women. The study's outcome is a new middle range theory, Connecting in Cyberspace. This theoretical framework is the first attempt to describe the processes and phases of a computer-mediated support group and is intended as a beginning guide for nursing practice in an electronic environment. Orienting is defined as the start-up period in which members experience techno-uncertainty and unsettled impressions of fellow group members. The next stage, Intensifying, evolves from orienting and represents overcoming the uncertainty of phase one. It is heralded by high messaging activity fueled by the novelty of communicating in a new environment and the ability to connect with others in similar situations. As Intensifying's excitement fades, the group enters a settling and blending period termed Integrating. Integration's focus is the group's work to support one another, share life events and suggest coping alternatives. In the Concluding phase, the group's task is to transition away from the official group experience and to determine what contact they will have with one another afterward. Six relationship processes were identified in the data. Maintaining is the process by which participants sustained functioning of the group. Committing, an affiliative process, involves giving back to the group, entrusting the group with significant personal information, providing explanations or updates about one's participation or situation and extending oneself to group members. Maintaining and Committing followed similar trajectories as they peaked in weeks three through six, then gradually declined until the group's termination. The secondary processes support functioning of the primary processes and remained constant throughout the operation of the group. Initiating is the process by which participants commence messages to each other while Responding processes are communication that reply to previous messages. Grouping is the participants' identification with the group. Terminating comments are expressions of appreciation and saying goodbye that function to transition members away from the group.
Degree ProgramGraduate College