Adult Children Caregivers' Experiences with Online and In-Person Peer Support
e-Health ePoster Library. Bastawrous Wasilewski M. Jun 6, 2017; 167105; EP07.04 Topic: Approaches
Dr. Marina Bastawrous Wasilewski
Dr. Marina Bastawrous Wasilewski
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Abstract
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Purpose/Objectives: To explore adult children caregivers' (ACCs) experiences with online and in-person peer support exchange while caring for an elderly parent. Specifically, we aimed to answer two questions: 1) How do ACCs use online and in-person modalities to obtain support? 2) What type of support is exchanged within each modality?

Methodology/Approach: *Design: We employed a qualitative descriptive approach. Qualitative description entails a concise and descriptively rich analysis that remains true to the data. Recruitment: Brochures distributed through several in-person support groups and the social media channels of national organizations. The first author also used her Twitter account to tweet the study link. Procedure: Participants accessed the online survey where they were first asked about their eligibility. Consent was then sought. At the end of the survey, participants could volunteer for an in-depth qualitative interview. Data Collection: Each caregiver participated in an in-depth semi-structured interview that was conducted over the phone. Each interview was transcribed verbatim by a professional transcriptionist. The authors then checked for accuracy by cross-referencing the transcripts with the original audio files. Data Analysis:* Thematic analysis was performed to identify themes from the caregivers’ narratives. Line-by-line coding informed the development of a coding framework which was applied to all transcripts. NVivo version 10 qualitative data analysis software was used. Analyses included comparing and contrasting the coded data and categorizing similar ideas. All authors participated in the final phase of the thematic analysis which entailed constant comparison until categories could be grouped into ‘themes’ that were distinct from one another.

Finding/Results: In total, 15 adult children caregivers (ACCs) participated in an interview. The average age of ACCs was 51 years old (Range: 41-65 years old). The majority of ACCs (80%) indicated that their peer was a family member, long-time friend or co-worker– suggesting that this population mobilizes their existing network for peer support. Theme 1: ACCs take a pragmatic approach to peer support exchange. This was characterized by ACCs' blended use of communication modalities and mention of telpehone calls and tetxing as supplementary modes of communication. ACCs interacted online with peers to meet their practical needs (e.g. efficient and fast communication). Conversely, they interacted in-person to meet relational needs (e.g. desire for high quality relationships). Theme 2: The nature of peer support that ACCs received transcended the interaction modality. Regardless of whether the ACCs interacted with peers online or in person, they consistently received emotional, informational and appraisal suppport across modalities.

Conclusion/Implication/Recommendations: Dichotomizing support as either ‘online’ or ‘in-person’ may detract from our ability to understand how ACCs use multiple modalities to achieve their support goals. ACCs’ approach to peer support was complex. This highlights the need for future interventions to emulate their naturally pragmatic and flexible support-seeking style.

140 Character Summary: Adult children #caregivers use a blend of communication modalities to obtain #support from #peers. Type of support received transcends online/in-person modality.
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