Crohnie COINS: A Review of Online Networks For and By Patients with IBD

Dana M. Greene, Ph.D., M.A., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Jill M. Plevinsky, Tufts University

The increasingly virtual nature of today’s society has had a strong impact on the social connectedness of individuals and groups. Drawing upon data culled from inflammatory bowel disease specific Facebook pages owned my male and female adolescents between the ages of 14-22, this study explores the efficiency and culture of online support groups, and seeks to identify the impact of this virtual support setting as efficacious for continuous support. Drawing upon literature specific to child development and the social psychological impact of being diagnosed and coping with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, we explore a variety of prototypes developed by the C3N network that are geared toward providing the necessary, efficient, and advantageous types of support for adolescents with IBD, and how this creates its own Collaborative Innovation Network (COIN). As such, this paper uses social network analysis together with qualitative content analysis to assess, and evaluate the efficiency and impact of online support groups for adolescents with IBD, and posits that online networks provide a sense of social connectedness, as posited by social science theorists.

Proposed length of Paper: 15 pages.