Parenting young people with complex regional pain syndrome: an analysis of the process of parental online communication

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Abstract

Introduction:

Parenting a young person with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is associated with high levels of parental distress and numerous emotional, informational, and practical challenges. To meet these challenges, parents seek others undergoing similar experiences, both in face to face and online forums.

Objectives:

The objective of this study was to conduct a qualitative analysis of online forum data to explore the process of parental forum communication regarding parenting a young person with CRPS in online spaces.

Methods:

A total of 107 forum posts relating to parenting a young person with CRPS were collected from 39 users across 2 public forums. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Results:

Findings identified 2 themes: “the informal rules of exchanging and receiving network support” and “parents positioning themselves as experts.” The first theme highlighted the varied nature of support sought and provided by parents in addition to social rules associated with the negotiation of this support. The second theme represented an understanding of how parents presented themselves as experts in their young person's pain, both in relation to fellow parents and health care professionals.

Conclusion:

This study provided a novel insight into support and communicational exchanges between parents of young people with CRPS on online public forums. Findings identified the perceived usefulness of online spaces in terms of parents of young people with CRPS seeking and providing support. Further research can helpfully investigate how we might implement online peer mentoring to improve support further for parents.

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