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Computer-mediated social support in the multicenter AIDS cohort study

Rzewnicki, Daniel (2019) Computer-mediated social support in the multicenter AIDS cohort study. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Background: Social support is a critical component of healthy living, affecting mental health, chronic disease outcomes, and immune function. Social support is an area of concern for older adults, especially older gay and bisexual men (MSM); older MSM are more likely to live alone and bear a disproportionate percentage of the HIV disease burden. Some studies have evaluated the use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) to provide support to older adults, but research about the utilization and effectiveness of computer-mediated social support for older MSM remains limited.
Methods: 1066 MSM completed a survey of healthy aging which included the Social Provisions Scale. We asked participants how they primarily communicated with the people they received the most support from and considered any medium other than in person to be CMC. Participants also reported their degree of social support satisfaction. We utilized logistic regression analysis for binary outcomes, linear regression for continuous variables and ordinal logistic regression for outcomes with more than two response categories.
Results: Of the 912 participants in the analytic sample, 224 (24.6%) reported computer-mediated social provisions (CMSP). We detected no relationship between age and CMSP (Adjusted Odds ratio (AOR) = 1.00, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.98, 1.02), but found that HIV+ participants had higher odds of reporting CMSP (AOR = 1.54, CI = 1.09, 2.20). We also found that participants reporting CMSP were more likely to report lower social provisions scores (β1 = -1.03, CI = -1.89, -0.18) and less likely to report feeling neutral or satisfied about the support they received compared to dissatisfied (AOR = 0.52, CI = 0.35, 0.76).
Discussion: Results of this study suggest that a significant proportion of older MSM are primarily obtaining their social support via CMC, and that these people are more likely to be HIV+. However, the results also suggest that CMC may not be as effective an avenue for obtaining social support as in-person communication. The results of this study suggest that social support and the support-seeking behavior of older MSM is an important public health problem to investigate further.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rzewnicki, Danieldir21@pitt.edudir21
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairEgan, James E.jee48@pitt.eduJEE48
Committee MemberFriedman, MRmrf9@pitt.eduMRF9
Committee MemberCoulter,
Committee MemberWeinstein, Andreaamw140@pitt.eduAMW140
Date: 16 July 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 16 April 2019
Approval Date: 16 July 2019
Submission Date: 3 June 2019
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 38
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: social support, electronic media, MSM, computer-mediated communication
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2019 16:01
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2019 16:01


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