Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

For-Profit and Non-Profit Online Grief Support: Therapeutic Benefits and Sense of Community
by Hartig, Jeanne, Ph.D., National-Louis University, 2011, 156; 3543520
Abstract (Summary)

Grief support groups, sponsored by for-profit and non-profit organizations, can now be found on Facebook pages and Web sites. Those who join are educated, employed Caucasian women, age 40 and older, who live in the U.S. and whose first language is English. About one in three has an annual household income of less than $50K—and one in four reports their income as $100K or more. Those who are members of non-profit online grief support groups were significantly different from their for-profit counterparts on several key issues, including feeling their grief was less severe as a result of membership. Members of non-profits presented with less psychological distress and more positive emotional well-being and were more likely to agree that their group protected their privacy compared to their for-profit counterparts. Online grief support group members experienced the four components (emotional connection, need fulfillment, membership and influence) of the McMillan and Chavis (1986) model to varying degrees. PSOC was likely to be higher for those who began to post immediately upon joining—and for those who participated rather than "lurked" in the group.

The majority of group members were experiencing mild to severe depression. Although psychological distress decreased significantly for individuals who had been members for a year, compared to those with shorter tenure in the group, the mental health community needs to understand why these particular individuals chose online grief support in addition to, or as a substitute for, individual or group therapy

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Viola, Judah
Commitee: Fromm Reed, Suzette, Olson, Bradley, San Filippo, David
School: National-Louis University
Department: Community Psychology
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-B 74/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Social psychology, Psychology
Keywords: Bereavement, Grief, Online support groups, Self help groups, Sense of community, Support groups
Publication Number: 3543520
ISBN: 978-1-267-72445-8
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