Who is likely to benefit most from online cancer support communities? The role of personality traits
Chapter in an edited book (author)

CUHK Authors
Author(s) no longer affiliated with CUHK

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AbstractPurpose: The issue of whether online participation in peer support communities has positive or negative impacts on the psychological well-being of cancer patients warrants further explorations from new perspectives. This research investigates the role of personality traits in moderating the impact of online participation on the psychological adjustment of cancer patients in terms of their general mental well-being and cancer-specific well-being.
Methodology: Study participants were people diagnosed with leukemia. Questionnaires were collected from 111 participants in two leukemia-related forums in China, Baidu Leukemia Community and Bloodbbs . Information regarding the personality traits, online participation and psychological adjustment of the participants were collected using an online questionnaire. A linear regression model was used to test the moderation effect.
Findings: The main effect of online participation on psychological adjustment was not statistically significant. Importantly, two personality traits (i.e., Emotional Stability and Openness to Experience) moderated the relationship between online participation and psychological adjustment to cancer. Leukemia patients with high Emotional Stability and high Openness to Experience reported better psychological adjustment as they participated more in the online community. However, this was not the case for patients with low Stability and low Openness, who reported worse psychological adjustment as their participation in the online community increased.
Value: This study introduces two personality moderators into the discussion of how information technology influences the lives of cancer patients. The moderation effects help to explain why there have been contradictions in the findings of previous studies. In addition, this study also adds to the literature on cancer support communities as little research of this topic has been conducted outside of the US and Europe. Practically, this study not only highlights the need to evaluate the personality traits of patients who are recommended to participate in online communities, but also underlines the value of adequate moderation of these communities.
All Author(s) ListYuchen Ren, Xiaojing An
All Editor(s) ListTimothy M. Hale, Wen-Ying Sylvia Chou, Shelia R. Cotten
Book titlee-Health: Current Evidence, Promises, Perils, and Future Directions
Series TitleEmerald Studies in Media and Communication
Volume Number14
PublisherEmerald Publishing Group Limited
LanguagesEnglish-United States
Keywordsonline participation, psychological adjustment, cancer online support community, personality traits

Last updated on 2018-20-01 at 19:23