Chat Rooms May Ease Chronic Pain
The more than 100 million Americans living with chronic pain often have limited outlets to talk about their conditions with others who can understand and offer comfort. Online chat rooms may provide a beneficial forum where chronic pain sufferers can openly and safely communicate, as discussed in an article in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
In "Cyberhugs: Creating a Voice for Chronic Pain Sufferers through Technology," author Karin Becker of University North Dakota in Grand Forks, describes the social stigma, gender politics, and professional repercussions that often discourage people affected by chronic pain from talking about it. According to a release from the publisher, her study of the role that online chat rooms dedicated to individuals with chronic pain can have in establishing a sense of community revealed two key themes: the importance of validation and encouragement.
The release quotes Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCIA, Editor-in-Chief of the journal, as saying, "Online chat rooms may provide another outlet for support for chronic pain sufferers and may work towards removing barriers this population often experiences."