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Managing uncertainty in the context of clubfoot care: exploring the value of uncertainty management theory and the sense of virtual community

Managing uncertainty in the context of clubfoot care: exploring the value of uncertainty management theory and the sense of virtual community

Iowa Orthopaedic Journal 33: 142-148

Serious health conditions, such as clubfoot, could be a major source of uncertainty and stress for parents of children affected. How parents deal with uncertainty and stress as related to their child's health condition is of interest for medical professionals and health communicators alike. While physicians remain a preferred source of health information, during medical encounters or via phone and email communication, many individuals seek out health information on the Internet, including in online support communities. This study explored the connections between Uncertainty Management Theory (UMT) constructs and the potential contribution of the sense of virtual community (SOVC) to the UMT framework. The results of this research suggest that the UMT needs to be adapted for use in online contexts. One way is to include theoretical constructs, such as the sense of virtual community, specifically developed to measure online interactions. A modified and updated Uncertainty Management Theory could be useful in exploring, analyzing and understanding online behaviors related to health conditions such as clubfoot and thus contribute substantially to what we know about caregivers in their role as uncertainty managers.

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Accession: 054251188

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PMID: 24027474

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