Computer InternetExperience Journal

In addition to these group interventions for physically ill children, an increasing number of interventions have focused on the use of electronic media to increase support for physically ill children and their families. Perhaps to combat social withdrawal from family and friends, parents of children with pediatric illnesses often informally talk with other parents about their experiences, which can provide support and reduce isolation (Gonzalez-Heydrich et al. 1998). In addition to family support groups, several computer-based interventions have been useful in providing support related to medical illnesses (e.g., Bucher and Houts 1999). One such intervention, the Experience Journal, has been shown to be safe and efficacious in multiple studies (www.experience-journal.com; DeMaso et al. 2000, 2006). Grounded in theoretical research on preventive interventions, narrative therapy, and social support, the program makes the experiences of contributing children, parents, and health caregivers available via the Internet to families who may be facing similar issues and provides the opportunity for individuals to contribute their own narratives. It was designed to foster the creation of an electronic community that enhances self-understanding and family understanding.

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