Expectancy-Value Model of patients' virtual communities. The determinants of desires for online collective action.

Raphaelle Laubie* Raphaelle Laubie*, Dauphine University, Eugenol.com, Paris, France

Track: Research
Presentation Topic: Communities in health care
Presentation Type: Rapid-Fire Presentation
Submission Type: Single Presentation

Building: Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School
Room: B-Bray Room
Date: 2012-09-15 02:45 PM – 03:30 PM
Last modified: 2012-09-12

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Internet use has dramatically expanded over the past few years and virtual communities are
blossoming on the World Wide Web. Virtual communities offer numerous opportunities to
individual participants for sharing experiences, socializing, getting peers’ supports, breaking with isolation, increasing self-disclosure through anonymity.
Following this, the research explores individual and social determinants to join social networks in patients’ virtual communities. Researchers have already explored some of these aspects concerning common or specific categories of persons but not patients. Doing so, they have mainly focused their work on either the individual, or groups of individuals. In spite of the findings provided, this has contributed in creating research gaps in that we fail to acknowledge the simultaneous individual and social determinants of patient’s social network adoption.
Accordingly, drawing on the concepts of intention, goal-directed behavior model, expectancy value model and gifting concepts, this research further explores the determinants of patient’s virtual communities adoption.
We used a qualitative methodology in compliance with our exploratory quest to understand the determinants of patients’ engagement. In order to get both sociological typology and predominant factors’ guidelines, we first proceeded to preliminary semi-directive centered interviews with Doctors and caregivers (5 persons), health 2.0 experts (13 persons), web 2.0 experts (7 persons).
Considering the insights given on ‘online’ patients, we then proceeded to patients (21 persons) and patients’ relatives (8 persons). A total of 54 interviews were coded using NVivo data analysis.
Specifically, we study the nature of individual and group-related determinants, focusing on the role of belongingness needs and the emotions of the users’ desire for online collective action.
Together with the motives for engagement, the interviews led to precious insights such as barriers for engagement, benefits of engagement, online social facts and patients’ virtual communities best practices.
Information and belongingness needs remain the main reason for reaching and following these communities, but testimonies also showed the emergence of new factors such as the exclusive value (dedicated platforms), the will to help back peers and positive emotions. Besides, inaccurate medical information, anxiety and privacy protection convey major hindrances for patients who would be willing to join.
Patients’ ties are strong and immediate, and online usages lead to enlightened population that benefits from positive emotions in their healing process, instantaneously and in the long run. The quest for online clinical help, as well as moderation needs on open virtual spaces would also encourage a bottom to top approach in medicine and collaboration between patients and researchers.
This preliminary qualitative research will lead to quantitative ones, that will extend, on large panels, our study on patients’ motives for engagement and their benefits, as well as social networks best practices.

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