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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.