First Advisor

Nancy J. Chapman

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Urban Studies (M.U.S.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies


Systemic lupus erythematosus, Women -- Diseases, Self-help groups, Social networks, Autoimmune diseases



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, iv, 86 p.)


This research study explored the experiences of 19 women who had been diagnosed with, or were still seeking the diagnosis of SLE (lupus) and their decisions regarding support group participation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the variety of factors influencing their choices in types and sources of support, their coping strategies and the reasons behind their decisions to either choose or not choose lupus support groups as a viable support resource. Those women identified as support groups attendees recalled a more emotion-focused response to their diagnosis and showed stronger reliance on seeking emotional forms of support. Conversely, those women who chose not to participate in groups (non-attendees) utilized more problem-focused strategies when they received their news of the illness and indicated more reliance on instrumental forms of support. Additionally, the women who do not attend support groups did not seem to have more social support from outside sources, but did show a tendency to utilize relationship-focused coping more than other forms of coping strategies overall. Both groups showed a heavy reliance on their medical providers for both emotional and instrumental forms of support suggesting this source as an important factor in individual choices in coping strategies and support sources. The decisions to attend or not attend differed only in the strategies they relied on and specific group structure, timing and locations. The results of this study supports earlier research in the types and sources of social support used in adapting to a chronic illness. This study also encourages incorporating individual support services through medical providers and the development of programs that acknowledge individual coping and support needs.


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Persistent Identifier