The eMale: Prostate cancer, masculinity and online support as a challenge to medical expertise

Broom, Alex (2005) The eMale: Prostate cancer, masculinity and online support as a challenge to medical expertise. Journal of Sociology, 41 1: 87-104. doi:10.1177/1440783305050965


Author Broom, Alex
Title The eMale: Prostate cancer, masculinity and online support as a challenge to medical expertise
Journal name Journal of Sociology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1440-7833
1741-2978
Publication date 2005-03
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/1440783305050965
Volume 41
Issue 1
Start page 87
End page 104
Total pages 18
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Abstract This article argues that experiences of, and attitudes towards, online communities are deeply embedded in understandings of masculinity, the perceived character of the Internet, and changes in the roles of the patient and the expert within decision-making processes. Drawing on the accounts of a group of Australian men with prostate cancer and prostate cancer specialists, this qualitative study explores experiences of online support groups. Results point to three unexplored and important factors influencing how both patients and clinicians perceive and experience online support. First, online support groups provide some men with a method of managing constraints posed by dominant constructions of masculinity within their experiences of prostate cancer, allowing for increased sharing and intimacy by limiting inhibitions associated with face-to-face encounters. However, other men view online support groups as havens for deception and misinformation, and computer-mediated communication as a highly problematic form of social interaction. Finally, this article shows how some medical specialists experience online support groups as a threat to their expert status and control over decision-making processes, outlining the nature and possible implications of their responses to this threat.
Keyword Internet
Masculinity
Online support
Prostate cancer
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 50 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 59 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 07 Aug 2011, 11:28:13 EST by Rachel Smith on behalf of Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences