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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

January 15, 2015
March 24, 2015
March 6, 2018
June 2016
April 2019   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Read message (Does the user read the message they were exposed to?) [ Time Frame: 1 day ]
Same as current
Complete list of historical versions of study NCT02396472 on ClinicalTrials.gov Archive Site
  • 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.
  • 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.
Same as current
Not Provided
Not Provided
 
Mental Health Pathways in Internet Support Groups
Internet Support Groups: Identifying and Improving Pathways for Mental Health
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.

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.

Interventional
Not Applicable
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Double (Participant, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
  • 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
  • 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.

    Intervention: 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.
    Intervention: 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.
    Intervention: 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.
    Intervention: 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.
    Intervention: Behavioral: Order by self-disclosure

*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
 
Recruiting
6500
200
April 2019
April 2019   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

Inclusion Criteria:

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

Exclusion Criteria:

Sexes Eligible for Study: All
18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Yes
Contact: Robert E Kraut, PhD 412 268-7694 robert.kraut@cmu.edu
Contact: Indra Danti 412 268-4431 indras@cs.cmu.edu
United States
 
 
NCT02396472
CarnegieMU
No
Not Provided
Not Provided
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
  • American Cancer Society, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Robert E Kraut, PhD Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University
March 2018

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP