Internet Groups as a Form of Social Support for Young Adults with Chronic Illnesses

The purpose of this research is to determine if internet groups could act as a form of social support for young adults with chronic illnesses. Many chronic illnesses can impede an individual’s ability to perform many tasks, maintain employment, and can limit the possibility for social engagement. Presently, much of the available research regarding chronic illness and social support centers on the older adult population.

In order to perform this research, it is necessary to establish supporting information about the topics of chronic illness and social support. Presently, I am immersed in a thorough literature review to learn the psychological perspectives of chronic illness and the corresponding terminology. I am gathering information on how exactly social support is defined, and its social construction, namely the collectivist and individualist approaches. In addition, I am utilizing national statistics from the Center for Disease Control concerning the rates of prevalence and the yearly incidence of different chronic illness amongst young adults, as well as the symptoms each illness typically induces. I am also reviewing illness narratives to observe any particular trends in coping and socialization.

Currently, I am not certain exactly which measures I will utilize to conduct this research. I am reviewing different established tests to determine if they would be appropriate for this research or if a new measure/questions would need to be created.

I am very excited to move forward with this research and look forward to the coming weeks!