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chronic illness, computer-based intervention, psychosocial outcomes, rural



  1. Hill, Wade
  2. Weinert, Clarann
  3. Cudney, Shirley


Background: Adaptation to chronic illness is a lifelong process presenting numerous psychological challenges. It has been shown to be influenced by participating in support groups. Rural women with chronic illness face additional burdens as access to information, healthcare resources, and sources of support are often limited. Developing virtual support groups and testing the effects on psychosocial indicators associated with adaptation to chronic illness may help remove barriers to adaptation.


Objective: To examine the effects of a computer-delivered intervention on measures of psychosocial health in chronically ill rural women including social support, self-esteem, empowerment, self-efficacy, depression, loneliness, and stress.


Methods: An experimental design was used to test a computer-delivered intervention and examine differences in psychosocial health between women who participated in the intervention (n = 44) and women in a control group (n = 56).


Results: Differences between women who participated in the intervention and controls were found for self-esteem, F(1,98) = 5.97, p =.016; social support, F(1,98) = 4.43, p =.038; and empowerment, F(1,98) = 6.06, p =.016. A comparison of means for depression, loneliness, self-efficacy, and stress suggests that differences for other psychosocial variables are possible.


Discussion: The computer-based intervention tested appears to result in improved self-esteem, social support, and empowerment among rural women with chronic illness. Descriptive but nonsignificant differences were found for other psychosocial variables (depression, loneliness, self-efficacy, and stress); women who participated in the intervention appeared to improve more than women in the control group.