Skip to main content

Table 1 Characteristics of reviewed articles

From: The role of internet-based digital tools in reducing social isolation and addressing support needs among informal caregivers: a scoping review

Authors [reference number]Purpose of studySample sizeTarget populationAge of caregivers (years)MethodGender and ethnicity of caregiversResiding country of first author
Anderson et al. [17]To explore how family caregivers of persons living with dementia use the social media platform of the blog as a part of the individual caregiving experience.9Caregivers of persons living with dementiaN/AQualitative: Analyzed samples of blog content using content analysis supplemented by thematic analysisGender:
8 women
1 man
Ethnicity:
N/A
United States
Barbabella et al. [18]To verify the impact of a web-based psychosocial intervention on caregivers.94, in 20 focus groupsCaregivers of older adults51–69Pretest-posttest design with mixed methods: Questionnaires and focus groupsGender:
57 women
37 men
Ethnicity:
N/A
Italy
Bateman et al. [19]To determine (1) the feasibility of innovating peer support group work delivered through social media with friendsourcing; (2) whether the intervention provides an acceptable method for AD caregivers to obtain support; and (3) whether caregiver outcomes were affected by the intervention.6Caregivers of persons living with Alzheimer’s disease34–74Pretest-posttest design with mixed methods: Surveys and semi-structured interviewsGender:
3 women
3 men
Ethnicity:
4 White
1 African American
1 Asian American
United States
Blusi, Asplund, Jong [20]To illuminate the meaning of ICT-based caregiver support as experienced by older family carers living in vast rural areas, caring for a spouse at home.31Caregivers in rural areas65–85Qualitative, descriptive design: Semi-structured interviewsGender:
23 women
8 men
Ethnicity:
N/A
Sweden
Blusi, Kristiansen, Jong [21]To explore how internet-based caregiver support may influence the experience of isolation among older spousal caregivers in rural areas.31Older spousal caregivers in rural areas65–85Qualitative: Interviews post-interventionGender:
23 women
8 men
Ethnicity:
N/A
Sweden
Dam et al. [22]To describe (1) the development of an online social support intervention titled Inlife; and (2) the evaluation of the feasibility of this intervention and the measurements to assess its effectiveness.25Caregivers of persons living with dementiaMean = 55.9 (SD = 13.9)Quantitative: Online self-report measures at baseline and at four follow-up time pointsGender:
12 women
13 men
Ethnicity:
N/A
Nether-lands
Darcy, Brunsden, Hill [23]To explore the use of an online mental health discussion board by informal caregivers.82Caregivers of persons living with mental health issuesN/AQualitative: Interpretative phenomeno-logical analysis of 487 postingsGender:
N/A
Ethnicity:
N/A
United Kingdom
Diefenbeck, Klemm, & Hayes [24]To examine content themes emerging from an unstructured, asynchronous online peer support group for family caregivers of persons living with chronic illness.16Caregivers of family members living with chronic disease38–70Qualitative, descriptive, exploratory design: Qualitative content analysis of the written interactions of the support group membersGender:
16 women
Ethnicity:
16 White
United States
Fox & Brenner [25]To provide an overview of the demographics of caregivers in USA and how they use the internet.860Caregivers of family membersN/AQuantitative: SurveysGender:
478 women
392 men
Ethnicity:
626 White
104 Black
96 Hispanic
United States
Gage-Bouchard et al. [26]To examine the nature of support exchanges between parents of pediatric cancer patients as they happen in real-time, naturally occurring interactions on Facebook.N/ACaregivers of persons living with cancerN/AQualitative: Content analysis of 12 months of data from 18 publicly available Facebook pages hosted by parents of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemiaGender:
N/A
Ethnicity:
N/A
United States
Gage-Bouchard et al. [27]To examine how cancer caregivers use personal Facebook pages for cancer-related communication.N/AParents of children living with acute lymphoblastic leukemiaN/AQualitative: Content analysis of 12 months of data from 18 publicly available Facebook pages hosted by parents of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemiaGender:
N/A
Ethnicity:
N/A
United States
Hansen, Sheehan, Stephenson [28]To explore the lived experience of caregivers who interact with their loved ones with a life-limiting illness on an illness blog.9Caregivers of ill family membersN/AQualitative, phenomenolog-ical approach: Semi-structured interviewsGender:
5 men
4 women
Ethnicity:
N/A
United States
Kim [29]To utilize a uses and gratifications framework to examine how caregivers of children with Down syndrome use social media to access social support.100Caregivers of children living with Down Syndrome18–29 (n = 8)
30–39 (n = 51)
40–49 (n = 38)
50+
(n = 3)
Mixed-methods: First phase used a cross-sectional survey research design; second phase used thematic content and feature analysis of social media sitesGender:
N/A
Ethnicity:
N/A
United States
Kruk [30]To explore how the situatedness, multiplicity and fragmentation of story forms and functions enable Alzheimer’s caregivers to invoke categories and project multiple troublesome facets of their identities, which then emerge as meaningful amid interactive engagements in an online support group.N/ACaregivers of persons living with Alzheimer’s diseaseN/AQualitative: Conversation analysis and membership categorization analysis of publicly accessible data (15 forum threads) nested within a UK-based online Alzheimer’s support groupGender:
N/A
Ethnicity:
N/A
Poland
Lichenstein, McDonough, Matura [31]To gain an understanding of how caregivers of people with pulmonary hypertension are using an online discussion board.98Caregivers of persons living with pulmonary hypertensionN/AQualitative, descriptive design: Thematic analysis of internet posts on the Pulmonary Hypertension Discussion Board over an 18-month periodGender:
59 women
18 men
Ethnicity:
N/A
United States
Marziali & Garcia [32]To examine the impact on dementia caregivers’ experienced stress and health status of 2 Internet-based intervention programs.91Caregivers of persons living with dementiaN/AQuasi-experimental, mixed-methods design: Questionnaires and qualitative analysis on archived video conferencing group sessions, text-based chat forum exchanges and follow-up interviewsGender:
N/A
Ethnicity:
N/A
Canada
McKechnie, Barker, Stott [33]To examine the impact of a UK-based online support forum for caregivers of persons living with dementia.61Caregivers of persons living with dementia22–86Mixed-methods: Questionnaires and interviewsGender:
99 women
18 men
Ethnicity:
112 White British
4 White other
3 Other
United Kingdom
Roffeei, Abdullah, Basar [34]To investigate the nature and potential benefits of social support for parents/caregivers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders using a content-analysis approach to information exchanged via postings and comments within Facebook autism groups.N/ACaregivers of persons living with autismN/AQualitative: Deductive content analysis of 3637 messages from two Facebook autism support group pagesGender:
N/A
Ethnicity:
N/A
Malaysia
Stephen et al. [35]To report participant and participation characteristics in the pan-Canadian initiative known as CancerChatCanada, and to understand participant perspectives about the quality of communication and professional facilitation, overall satisfaction, and psychosocial benefits and outcomes.102Caregivers
Cancer patients
Cancer survivors
25–79Qualitative: InterviewsGender:
N/A
Ethnicity:
N/A
Canada
Stjernswärd, Hansson [36]To explore participants’ use of a Web-based tool, with focus on the forum, and to assess its potential health and psychosocial benefits.10Relatives of persons living with depression18–68Mixed-methods: Questionnaires and content analysis of forum posts.Gender:
9 women
1 man
Ethnicity:
N/A
Sweden
Sullivan [37]To gain insight into the “lived” experiences of an online asthma caregivers support group.31 posters
796 subscrib-ers
Caregivers of persons living with asthmaN/AQualitative: Phenomenolog-ical thematic analysis of archived messages of an online asthma caregiver groupGender:
31 women
Ethnicity:
N/A
United States
Wasilewski et al. [38]To explore adult children caregivers’ experiences with online and in-person peer support exchange while caring for an elderly parent.15Caregivers who are adult children caregivers of an elderly parentMean = 51
(SD = 7.9)
Qualitative, descriptive approach: Semi-structured interviewsGender:
64 women
7 men
Ethnicity:
N/A
Canada
Wittenberg-Lyles et al. [39]To show how bereaved individuals experience loss- and restoration-oriented stressors and how they cope with these distinct types of stressors, and to explore the outcomes of participation in a secret Facebook group for bereavement.16Bereaved hospice caregiversMean = 48.6
(SD = 16.1)
Mixed-methods: Self-reported measures and content analysis of secret Facebook group online communicationsGender:
11 women
5 men
Ethnicity:
15 Caucasian
1 Native American
United States
  1. Note. N/A Not available