A study of e-discussion within a domain of uncertainty: the case of Tourette’s Syndrome
The growing popularity of the internet has made it easier and faster to find health information on rare and poorly understood disease topics. Much of this information is valuable, though the internet also allows the rapid and widespread distribution of false and misleading information, especially through peer-based networks. Providers frequently advise that it is important for health consumers to carefully consider the source of lay information and to discuss the clinical information they find with their health care provider. Beyond clinical indicators and standards, however, there exist few evaluative frameworks for assessing health information, especially within peer-to-peer networks. Employing a grounded theoretical approach, analysis of online, domain-specific interaction examined in this study demonstrates the decisionmaking influences of “virtual support groups” and the related emergence of “cybertherapy” as a peer-based tool for healthcare consumers.