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Explicit and implicit information needs of people with depression: a qualitative investigation of problems reported on an online depression support forum

Barney, Lisa J; Griffiths, Kathleen M; Banfield, Michelle

Description

BACKGROUND Health management is impeded when consumers do not possess adequate knowledge about their illness. At a public health level, consumer knowledge about depression is particularly important because depression is highly prevalent and causes substantial disability and burden. However, currently little is known about the information needs of people with depression. This study aimed to investigate the explicit and implicit information needs of users of an online depression support forum....[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorBarney, Lisa J
dc.contributor.authorGriffiths, Kathleen M
dc.contributor.authorBanfield, Michelle
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-23T05:48:48Z
dc.date.available2015-12-23T05:48:48Z
dc.identifier.issn1471-244X
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/95189
dc.description.abstractBACKGROUND Health management is impeded when consumers do not possess adequate knowledge about their illness. At a public health level, consumer knowledge about depression is particularly important because depression is highly prevalent and causes substantial disability and burden. However, currently little is known about the information needs of people with depression. This study aimed to investigate the explicit and implicit information needs of users of an online depression support forum. METHODS A sample of 2680 posts was systematically selected from three discussion forums on an online depression bulletin board (blueboard.anu.edu.au). Data were examined for evidence of requests for information (reflecting explicit needs) and reports of past or current problems (implicit needs). Thematic analysis was conducted using a data-driven inductive approach with the assistance of NVivo 7, and instances of questions and people reporting particular types of problems were recorded. RESULTS A total of 134 participants with personal experience of depression contributed to the data analysed. Six broad themes represented participant queries and reported problems: Understanding depression; disclosure and stigma; medication; treatment and services; coping with depression; and comorbid health problems. A variety of specific needs were evident within these broad thematic areas. Some people (n = 46) expressed their information needs by asking direct questions (47 queries) but the majority of needs were expressed implicitly (351 problems) by the 134 participants. The most evident need for information related to coping with depression and its consequences, followed by topics associated with medication, treatment and services. CONCLUSIONS People with depression have substantial unmet information needs and require strategies to deal with the difficulties they face. They require access to high quality and relevant online resources and professionals; thus, there is a need to rectify current gaps in the provision of information and limitations of dissemination. Greater knowledge about depression and its treatment is also needed at the general community level.
dc.description.sponsorshipDr Barney was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Capacity Building Grant No. 418020, Professor Griffiths was supported by NHMRC Fellowship No. 525413, and Dr Banfield was supported by an Australian Rotary Health Ian Scott PhD Scholarship.
dc.publisherBioMed Central
dc.rights© Barney et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2011 This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​2.​0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
dc.sourceBMC Psychiatry
dc.subjectdepression
dc.subjectfemale
dc.subjecthumans
dc.subjectmale
dc.subjectneeds assessment
dc.subjectonline systems
dc.subjectpatient education as topic
dc.subjectself-help groups
dc.titleExplicit and implicit information needs of people with depression: a qualitative investigation of problems reported on an online depression support forum
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume11
dc.date.issued2011
local.identifier.absfor111714
local.identifier.ariespublicationU3599786xPUB1
local.publisher.urlhttp://www.biomedcentral.com/
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationBarney, Lisa, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, CMBE Research School of Population Health, National Institute for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationGriffiths, Kathleen, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, CMBE Research School of Population Health, National Institute for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationBanfield, Michelle, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, CMBE Research School of Population Health, Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute, The Australian National University
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/418020
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/525413
local.identifier.essn1471-244X
local.bibliographicCitation.issue1
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage88
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage11
local.identifier.doi10.1186/1471-244X-11-88
local.identifier.absseo970117
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T10:20:03Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-79955958799
local.identifier.thomsonID000292098200001
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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