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computer communication networks, nursing models, support groups, theory construction



  1. LaCoursiere, Sheryl Perreault RN, MS, MSN, PhD Candidate


The ever-increasing accessibility of online services has hastened the development of persons seeking online health care information and support. These online settings are providing new ways to assist patients and nurses in gaining support with life, health, and professional situations. A theory of online social support (OSS) was developed to assist in the holistic conceptualization of online social support, linking cyberspace phenomena with traditional quantitative and qualitative methods of description, and provide a basis for further theory and related research. The article describes influences on the development of the theory, outlines focal concepts and definitions, and reviews components of the theory and their interrelationships.