School of Communication and the Arts


Doctor of Philosophy in Communication (PhD)


Robert Mott


information seeking, healthcare, HIV, decision-making




In the tradition of social construction theory and phenomenology, this content analysis describes the impact of Facebook community groups on individuals with HIV and their activities seeking healthcare information. The central research question was as follows: How are individuals living with HIV utilizing Facebook community groups to seek healthcare information? Sub questions addressed the reasons individuals sought healthcare information and how the information they found influenced their decision-making. The study occurred within a public Facebook group for individuals living with HIV and through a series of online questionnaires. The sample included 20 online questionnaires being completed, with 36 members being followed online for 6 months within the group. Data was collected through both the answers to the questionnaire and observations of postings and comments in the Facebook group. I examined the data for themes regarding the lived experiences of others and how these lived experiences impact the individual’s healthcare decision-making. Analysis of the data provides themes including communication, relationships, and decision-making. participants described feeling accepted among their peers and invested in others’ lived experiences while gathering healthcare information. In addition, the findings indicate that the atmosphere in the community group was a factor in their decision-making.

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