Health behavior changes after colon cancer: a comparison of findings from face-to-face and on-line focus groups

Fam Community Health. 2001 Oct;24(3):88-103. doi: 10.1097/00003727-200110000-00010.


This qualitative study assessed the feasibility and comparability of findings from face-to-face versus on-line chat focus groups including 12 individuals affected by colon cancer. Discussion questions focused on issues of lifestyle (nutrition and exercise), cancer screening, and treatment. Despite demographic differences, the themes that emerged from the two types of groups were similar. On-line participants generally talked more about cancer treatment and advocacy issues and used support groups more frequently. The anonymity of on-line chat groups appeared to provide a more comfortable forum for some people to discuss sensitive personal health issues. As both methods provided similar results, researchers may wish to consider circumstances in which using chat-based focus groups may provide a feasible alternative to traditional face-to-face groups.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Colonic Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Colonoscopy
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Focus Groups / methods*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • North Carolina
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Social Support