Date of Conferral







Mattie Burton


When individuals are diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), they tend to go through emotional, psychological, and physical anguish that requires support. Studies have shown that a support group can provide SLE patients with an outlet in which they can share firsthand feelings and experiences and receive emotional support but it is not known if how the individual with SLE accesses online or face to face support makes a difference. The purpose of this study, guided by the Chronic Care Model, was to determine if there were differences in quality of life (QoL) for persons with SLE participating in an online versus traditional face-to-face support group. One hundred five participants were recruited via email who were diagnosed with SLE and were 18 years of age or older. All participants were members of an online (n = 53) or face-to-face (n = 52) support group and completed a 20-item short-form health survey (SF-20). Data were analyzed using an independent t-test and responses to the SF-20 responses were used to show descriptive differences. Results showed there were no significant difference in overall QoL between online and traditional face-to-face support group participants. Positive social change may result as patients with SLE consistently attend support groups and find support from their peers. Future studies might include a larger sample size and consider QoL comparisons across patients who do or do not attend online or face-to-face support groups.