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Mental Health Pathways in Internet Support Groups

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02396472
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : March 24, 2015
Last Update Posted : March 6, 2018
Sponsor:
Collaborators:
University of Pittsburgh
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
American Cancer Society, Inc.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Carnegie Mellon University

Brief Summary:
People facing serious health threats increasingly use Internet health support communities to obtain informational support, emotional support and other resources. This study introduces software algorithms similar to those used by social media sites to put people in touch with helpful information and social interactions. Participants from the American Cancer Society's Cancer Support Network will have access to this online support group using the default interface that orders content by broad content category and date or with a new interface that highlights communication content and people that match users' interests and needs.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Depression Stress Anxiety Behavioral: Order by time and topic Behavioral: Order by information relevance Behavioral: Order by social relationship Behavioral: Order by help giving Behavioral: Order by self-disclosure Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

Internet support groups (ISGs) are online communities where people come together to exchange information, emotional support and other resources. They are an important resource for patients grappling with serious medical conditions. Although participation in health-related ISGs has been associated with significant reductions in participant-reported depression, anxiety and other indicators of psychological distress, many ISG members leave too soon to benefit. In a parallel study, we are using state-of-the art machine learning and automated language analysis techniques to assess the types of interactions that keep people participating in these groups and that lead to improved psychosocial well-being and health quality of life and how these interactions develop. The clinical trial described here uses these technologies and insights from our empirical research to build, deploy, and evaluate interventions that improve the interactions in Internet health support groups.

We will develop and pilot-test interventions to encourage effective communication processes identified in our empirical research. Participants from the American Cancer Society's Cancer Support Network will access this support group using either the default interface that orders content by disease diagnosis and date or with a new interface that sometimes highlights communication content and people who match their interests and needs. We will test whether mood, satisfaction with interactions and engagement in the group increase following interventions that (a) increase participants' receipt of individualized support from others; (b) provide participants with opportunities to offer support to others; (c) facilitate participants' expression of emotions; and (d) help participants form relationships with compatible peers. In a series of small, randomized experiments, we will examine how these interventions affect participants' communication behaviors as well as short-term engagement and satisfaction with their online interactions.


Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 6500 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Double (Participant, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
Official Title: Internet Support Groups: Identifying and Improving Pathways for Mental Health
Actual Study Start Date : June 2016
Estimated Primary Completion Date : April 2019
Estimated Study Completion Date : April 2019

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Mental Health

Arm Intervention/treatment
Placebo Comparator: Order by time and topic

Volunteers from the American Cancer Society's Cancer Survivors' Network (CSN) will see some of their messages delivered using CSN's default ordering, which shows messages within a conversational thread ordered by time stamp. Conversational threads are nested within a broad topic-based forum, like breast cancer or colorectal cancer survivors.

Note that this is a within-participant trial, so that all participants participate in all arms of the trial. Messages, not people, are randomly assigned to condition.

Behavioral: Order by time and topic
Active Comparator: Order by information relevance
In this condition some messages will be highlighted if they match the type of content the user has previously shown interest in, by previously contributing or reading semantically similar material.
Behavioral: Order by information relevance
Active Comparator: Order by social relationship
In this condition some messages will be highlighted because they come from people the user has previously shown interest in, by previously reading their posts or communicating with them.
Behavioral: Order by social relationship
Active Comparator: Order by help giving
In this condition some messages will be highlighted because they seek help and therefore provide an opportunity for participants to provide social support to others.
Behavioral: Order by help giving
Active Comparator: Order by self-disclosure
In this condition some messages will be highlighted because in them the writer is self-disclosing, and they provide provide an opportunity for participants to self-disclose in return.
Behavioral: Order by self-disclosure



Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Read message (Does the user read the message they were exposed to?) [ Time Frame: 1 day ]

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Interaction satisfaction (Self-report measure of satisfaction 3-item survey) [ Time Frame: 1 day ]
    Self-report measure of satisfaction with a random sample of messages. This is a 3-item survey that will be delivered as a pop-up questionnaire following a random sample of the messages users were exposed to.

  2. Reply to message (How long does it take the users to reply to a message they were exposed to, if they reply at all.) [ Time Frame: 2 days ]
    How long does it take the users to reply to a message they were exposed to, if they reply at all.



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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Is an existing or new registrant to the American Cancer Society's Cancer Support Network.

Exclusion Criteria:


Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT02396472


Contacts
Contact: Robert E Kraut, PhD 412 268-7694 robert.kraut@cmu.edu
Contact: Indra Danti 412 268-4431 indras@cs.cmu.edu

Locations
United States, Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon University Recruiting
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, 15213
Sponsors and Collaborators
Carnegie Mellon University
University of Pittsburgh
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
American Cancer Society, Inc.
Investigators
Principal Investigator: Robert E Kraut, PhD Carnegie Mellon University

Additional Information:
Publications:
Vlahovic, T., Wang, Y.-C., Kraut, R. E., & Levine, J. M. (2014). Support matching and satisfaction in an online breast cancer support community. CHI'14: Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1625-1634 ). NY: ACM.
Wang, Y., Kraut, R., & Levine, J. (2012). To stay or leave? the relationship of emotional and informational support to commitment in online health support groups CSCW '12 Proceedings of the ACM 2012 conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (pp. 833-842). NY: ACM.

Responsible Party: Carnegie Mellon University
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02396472     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: CarnegieMU
First Posted: March 24, 2015    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: March 6, 2018
Last Verified: March 2018

Keywords provided by Carnegie Mellon University:
social support