The Benefits of Using Online Health Support Groups for Information Acquisition for People with Type 2 Diabetes in the UK


  • Abdulaziz Almanea University of Sheffield; Al Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University
  • Peter A. Bath University of Sheffield
  • Laura Sbaffi University of Sheffield



Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a self-managed chronic condition that requires certain skills and knowledge to manage, both by the patient and health care professionals. People with T2D take daily decisions regarding their health and are responsible for the consequences. This creates a need to use different resources to obtain the required knowledge and the skills to control and manage the condition. This paper reports on a study to investigate the advantages of using online health support groups (OHSGs) for information exchange for people with T2D in the UK. In this paper, we collected data from 814 threads and posts from three diabetes UK-based OHSGs and analysed these using thematic analysis. The thematic analysis revealed three main benefits of using OHSGs for information acquisition: (1) Fulfilling information needs, (2) Overcoming barriers and (3) Supporting control and management of the condition. The results suggest that OHSGs serve as an excellent source for information acquisition for people with T2D.