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Measuring Use of Health-Related Support on the Internet: Development of the Health Online Support Questionnaire (HOSQ)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Lifestyle and rehabilitation in long term illness. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Clinical Psychology in Healthcare.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Clinical Psychology in Healthcare.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Clinical Psychology in Healthcare. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Clinical Psychology in Healthcare. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Experimental and Clinical Oncology.
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2015 (English)In: Journal of Medical Internet Research, ISSN 1438-8871, E-ISSN 1438-8871, Vol. 17, no 11, article id e266Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Social support plays an important role for the perceived health in people with health problems and chronic diseases.Provision of different kinds of support during the disease trajectory is crucial for many people. Online support is ubiquitous andrepresents a promising modality for people with chronic diseases. There are no existing instruments that measure various aspectsof online support.Objective: The objective of this study was to create a generic questionnaire regarding health-related support online that can beapplied to people with various health problems and illnesses. Additionally, we wanted to test the questionnaire in a cancerpopulation to assess its adequacy in the context of severe disease.Methods: Initial items for the Health Online Support Questionnaire (HOSQ) were inspired by sociologist James House regardingsocial support. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted in healthy persons or with minor health problems (n=243) on 31initial items. The scale was reduced to 18 items and the internal consistency and reliability of the scale was examined along withcontent validity. Further validation was conducted by a confirmatory analysis on the 18-item scale in a cancer population (n=215).In addition, data on demographics, health problems experienced, and Internet use were collected.Results: The exploratory factor analysis on the final 18-item scale resulted in 2 factors. After scrutinizing the content, thesefactors were labeled “reading” and “interacting” and they demonstrated good internal consistency (Cronbach alphas .88 and .77,respectively). The factors were confirmed in the cancer population. The response pattern revealed expected differences bothbetween the interaction and reading scales and according to age, gender, education, and health problems thereby supporting thevalidity of the HOSQ.Conclusions: The HOSQ may be a reliable and valid instrument for measuring the use of online support for people with healthproblems, but the results ought to be replicated in more studies to confirm the results for different diagnoses. If the results of thisstudy are corroborated by future studies, the HOSQ may be used as a basis for the development of different forms of support onthe Internet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 17, no 11, article id e266
National Category
Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-267814DOI: 10.2196/jmir.4425ISI: 000366179400020PubMedID: 26589638OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-267814DiVA, id: diva2:874392
Available from: 2015-11-26 Created: 2015-11-26 Last updated: 2017-12-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Health-related Internet use and screening for emotional distress in people with cancer
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Health-related Internet use and screening for emotional distress in people with cancer
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis was to investigate the preferences and incentives for using Internet-delivered support among people with cancer and to develop and test a generic questionnaire measuring health-related Internet use, the Health Online Support Questionnaire (HOSQ). Another aim was to examine the psychometric properties of the online-administered Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) regarding anxiety and depression in psychosocial screening among people with cancer, in comparisons with the longer instruments Montgomery Åsberg Depression Rating Scale – Self-report (MADRS-S) and the State Trait Anxiety Inventory – State (STAI-S).

Study I was a correlational and descriptive study on the development and psychometric properties of the HOSQ. Study II was a cross-sectional and descriptive study on health related Internet use in patients with cancer. Study III was a cross-sectional and descriptive study examining preferences for psychological treatments. Study IV was a psychometric comparison study of two short instruments and two longer instruments measuring anxiety and depression.

Findings from study I showed that the HOSQ might be a reliable and valid instrument for measuring the use of online support for people with health problems. Results ought to be replicated though in larger and other groups to confirm the results for different diagnoses.  Findings from study II confirmed results from other studies showing that people with cancer turn to the Internet for informational support that enables them to influence their care and to stay in touch with friends and relatives. Demographical differences regarding the uptake of Internet-based support remains, which indicates a need for research on how to bridge this digital gap. In study III, we found that a large majority preferred psychological treatment face to face whereas Internet-based interventions were reported as the preferred choice by a minority. Findings from the content analysis suggest that Internet-based interventions have specific advantages that may facilitate help-seeking among some individuals and some disadvantages that may be perceived as barriers. Initiatives to increase treatment acceptability may benefit from addressing the advantages and disadvantages reported in this study. In study IV we found that the use of the short and ultrashort tools HADS and VAS identified anxiety and depression in patients with cancer with high accuracy in comparisons with the longer instruments.

In conclusion, online screening with the HADS and VAS may be a suitable initial method to identify anxiety and depression in patients with cancer. There is still a large proportion of patients who lack the interest or eHealth literacy to use health-related support on the Internet. By learning more about the barriers, use and perception of eHealth and Internet-based interventions, adequate support may be offered. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2018. p. 78
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 1413
Keyword
Social support, Internet, Cancer, eHealth, Questionnaire, Oncology, Support, Patient preference, Screening, Depression, Anxiety
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-335968 (URN)978-91-513-0195-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-02-16, Sal IX, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 13:00 (Swedish)
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Supervisors
Available from: 2018-01-24 Created: 2017-12-17 Last updated: 2018-03-07

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Mattsson, SusanneOlsson, ErikAlfonsson, SvenJohansson, BirgittaCarlsson, Maria

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