The overall goal of Phase I of the Women to Women Project was to use telecommunication technology to provide information and mutual support to middle-aged rural women living with chronic illness, and to evaluate the impact of participation in computer-based support group on the women’s psychosocial health. Over the course of this phase of the project 150 rural women (five cohorts of 15 computer group and 15 non-computer group) with cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or rheumatoid conditions participated. Media, health agencies, coperative extension, and other snowball contacts were used to alert women to the study. After volunteering and completing a screening telephone interview they were randomized into the computer or non-computer group.

The telecommunication intervention, which used personal computers and the "FirstClass" conferencing system, consisted of four components: "Conversation", "HealthChat", "Mailbox", and "Resource Rack". For 5 months the computer group participated in a “self-help” support and educational group. The non-computer group continued to use their usual modes of support and communication. At baseline, 2 ½, 5, 7 ½ and 10 months both groups participate in phone interviews and completed written questionnaires to measure psychosocial outcomes.

Updated: 06/14/2011 11:39:58