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Internet support groups : a survey of users

14 December 2001


Mutual-aid groups on a variety of subjects are easily located on the internet in web-based communities. Little research has focused on describing the population that utilizes internet mutual-aid groups. The purpose of this study is to determine key descriptors of online groups for eating disorders. Subjects (N=60 ) were recruited from internet mutual -aid groups that focus on recovery from eating disorders. The majority of subjects reported to be White, younger than 30, and had participated for less than 6 months. Respondents reported that they highly valued anonymity and benefited from the safety of the group. Most respondents were participating in traditional forms of therapy and, in addition, had a history of depression and had been diagnosed with an eating disorder.


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