OBJECTIVES: To explore how the expression of emotional support in an online breast cancer support group changes over time, and what factors predict this pattern of change.

METHODS: We conducted growth curve modeling with data collected from 192 participants in an online breast cancer support group within the Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (CHESS) during a 24-week intervention period.

RESULTS: Individual expression of emotional support tends to increase over time for the first 12 weeks of the intervention, but then decrease slightly with time after that. In addition, we found that age, living situation, comfort level with computer and the Internet, coping strategies were important factors in predicting the changing pattern of expressing emotional support.

CONCLUSIONS: Expressing emotional support changed in a quadratic trajectory, with a range of factors predicting the changing pattern of expression.

PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: These results can provide important information for e-health researchers and physicians in determining the benefits individuals can gain from participation in should CMSS groups as the purpose of cancer treatment.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Patient Education and Counseling, v. 90, issue 1, p. 88–95.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Funding Information 

This research was supported by P50 CA095817-05 from the National Cancer Institute.