The role of online social support for individuals living with disabilities and chronic illness: Investigating stress, resilience and positive mental health
Harcourt Thewlis, Sarah
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This study investigated the role of online social support for individuals with disabilities and chronic illness and its impact on stress, resilience and positive mental health. Disability and chronic illness can severely impact physically and psychologically. As such are typically lifelong conditions, emphasising the importance to examine factors that impact an individual’s life, with stress, depression and anxiety three times more likely to be experienced. Furthermore, social support has been found to impact such outcomes. This study employed an online convenience sample to recruit 76 participants using the Wellbeing Index -WHO-5 (WHO, 1998), the Brief Resilience Scale (BRS) (Smith et al., 2008), the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) (Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1994) and the Medical Outcome Study Social Support Survey (MOS) (Sherbourne & Stewart, 1993). Online social support was found to have no significant impact on stress, resilience and positive mental health. However positive mental health was found to have a significant impact on stress and resilience. Furthermore, resilience was found to have a significant impact on stress. Some strengths of the research include the novel investigation of variables, and unrestricted health conditions for recruitment criteria to enable a representative sample. Limitations include the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on data collection and the potential negative implications of living through a pandemic as a confounding variable. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, alongside suggestions for future research. This study has added to psychological literature with its findings highlighting the need for future research.
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