Racial/ethnic differences and potential psychological benefits in use of the internet by women with breast cancer

Authors

  • Joshua Fogel,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology, Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 2Y9, Canada
    • Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Hampton House – Mental Hygiene, Suite 861, 624 North Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
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    • This paper is based in part on the doctoral dissertation research of Joshua Fogel for his Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology at Yeshiva University, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.

  • Steven M. Albert,

    1. Departments of Neurology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA
    2. School of Public Health, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA
    3. Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA
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  • Freya Schnabel,

    1. Department of Surgery, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA
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  • Beth Ann Ditkoff,

    1. Department of Surgery, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA
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  • Alfred I. Neugut

    1. Department of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA
    2. School of Public Health, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA
    3. Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA
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Abstract

Many websites on the Internet offer information to breast cancer patients and are increasingly being used. The authors investigated the potential psychological benefits of Internet use and how it varied as a function of race/ethnicity among 180 white, African American, and Hispanic American breast cancer patients who used the Internet for medical information. Using standardized psychological measures, as measured by the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL), Internet use among minorities was associated with greater overall, appraisal, and tangible social support (p's<0.05) but not belonging and self-esteem social support than among whites. No differences were observed for stress, depressive symptoms, loneliness, and coping. Since numerous studies suggest that social support may be related to survival, Internet use for breast health issues may have special clinical relevance to racial/ethnic minority groups. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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