With over 200,000 new diagnoses in 2004, breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among women in the United States. Both the stress of treatment and the threat of a potentially lethal illness present significant challenges to an individual's emotional well-being and coping skills, yet paradoxically many women report benefits from dealing with this adversity. The aims of this investigation were to describe the characteristics of benefit finding as expressed by breast cancer survivors participating in an online breast cancer support group, and to assess the relationship between symptom distress, emotional well-being and benefit finding using baseline assessment measures. Qualitative content analysis and computerized text analysis were used to characterize the emotional, cognitive, and structural components present in online therapy transcripts. Correlational analysis was also used to identify both convergent and divergent characteristics of expressed benefit finding the context of an online support group and self-reported benefit finding using a structured assessment measure. With respect to the relationship between symptom distress, emotional well-being and benefit finding, self-reported benefit finding was found to have a mediating relationship between symptom distress and emotional quality of life, however expressed benefit finding did not share this relationship. This study suggests a potential difference between the benefits participants may endorse on a structured measure versus the opportunity to discuss benefits in an unstructured, somewhat social environment.
School of Science and Technology
Master of Arts (MA)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Subject - Local
Online Support Groups; Breast Cancer
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Boxley, Laura, "Analysis of an Online Support Group for Women with Breast Cancer" (2010). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 2.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses & Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives