Hispanic Cancer Patients' Attitudes toward Internet Cancer Support Groups

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Enrique Guevara, MSN, RN
School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Learning Objective 1: list five cancer patients' attitudes towards Internet cancer support groups.

Learning Objective 2: list three differences in attitudes between the participants who are interested and those that are not interested in ICSGs.

Purpose: Previous studies suggest that the reasons that Hispanics do not use support groups might include utilizing the family as an informal support group structure, the families attitudes towards cancer and health, the use of spiritual support, language barriers, gender roles, the lack of access to a computer and the Internet, the lack of face-to-face interactions in Internet groups, and the lack of cultural competence. The purpose of this study is to explore the attitudes of Hispanics towards Internet cancer support groups (IGCSs) and possible reasons for the lack of participation in ICSGs.
Methods: In this feminist qualitative study design, 30 Hispanic individuals who are receiving cancer care and follow up care at a cancer specialty clinic were contacted for telephone interviews.  A literature review was conducted in order to develop questions that might solicit a discussion concerning attitudes.  The participants were interviewed in order to obtain their response to specific interview questions related to current use and interest in using computer technologies. Comparisons were made between those interested in ICSGs and those that were not interested in ICSGs in order to inform the future development of internet cancer support groups targeting cancer patients from Hispanic backgrounds. Qualitative thematic analysis was used.
Results: Data collection is currently ongoing. 30 participants have been interviewed for their responses to the specific interview questions related to current use and interest in using computer technologies. Preliminary findings include that 28 of the 30 participants have indicated an interest in the ICSGs. Also, the majority of the patients do not own a computer but expressed an Interest in having someone teach them how to use the computer in order to communicate with others and utilize the Internet cancer support group structure.
Conclusion: Therefore, the need exists to develop culturally competent ICSGs for Hispanics.