Title page for ETD etd-05132009-155110

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Xenakis, Gina Marie
Author's Email Address gxenakis@vt.edu
URN etd-05132009-155110
Title Living with Chordoma Online: A Thematic Analysis of User’s Experiences in an Online Cancer Support Group
Degree Master of Science
Department Marketing
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Brinberg, David L. Committee Chair
Nakamoto, Kent Committee Member
Weaver, Kimberlee D. Committee Member
  • Online Health Forum
  • Chordoma
  • Cancer Support Group 

Date of Defense 2009-05-12
Availability unrestricted
The internet has revolutionized the way people are able to seek information and

express themselves. Many fields have been dramatically impacted by its occurrence and the

health field is no exception. It is becoming increasingly popular to participate in online

discussion forums centered on health-related topics. The goal of this research is to describe

participants’ experience of using an on-line forum focused on Chordoma, a rare form of

cancer. Analysis of free-response questionnaires filled out by members of the forum,

revealed four key themes: (a) the forum is a source of invaluable information, (b) the forum

is a source for emotional support and hope, (c) members share a unique bond that often

results in friendship, and (d) members’ involvement changes over time. Benefits obtained by

the users and implications for medical professionals are discussed.

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