Study Investigates ‘Friendsourcing’ as a Way to Provide Support to Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Study Investigates ‘Friendsourcing’ as a Way to Provide Support to Alzheimer’s Caregivers
A new Facebook app can provide emotional support to unpaid caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease patients, according to a study. Researchers at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis developed the app as part of an investigation that looked at “friendsourcing” as a type of peer support group intervention. In particular, they wanted to see if friendsourcing could be beneficial in providing answers to emotional and informational issues that arose in support group interventions. The study, “Friendsourcing Peer Support for Alzheimer's Caregivers Using Facebook Social Media,” was published in the Journal of Technology in Human Services. A variant of crowdsourcing, which is typically used to raise funding, friendsourcing was described by the authors as the recruitment of “online participants who share membership in a social network that makes their volunteerism meaningful when they join to achieve an outcome.” The study was composed of four parts:
  • a pre-intervention phase, where participants completed an online survey and phone interview, and installed the study Facebook app.
  • a six-week intervention phase, where participants interacted with peer caregivers in a closed Facebook group via a web app, and reacted to feedback about anonymous caregiving questions the research team posted to each participant’s Facebook news feed.
  • a post-intervention phase, during which participants completed a survey, semist
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