LEADERS EFFECT ON DEPRESSION OUTCOMES IN A RANDOM SAMPLE OF BREAST CANCER PARTICPANTS IN PROFESSIONALLY LED INTERNET SUPPORT GROUPS
The study examines emotional and cognitive behaviors expressed in text by professional leaders in online breast cancer support groups. We tested the hypothesis the high levels of le leaders’ cognitive and positive emotional word usage are linked to reductions in depression measured by levels of depression. Sample; Age 52.7 (6.95), Race Caucasian N=174, Education, High school graduate 93, College graduate 90, Employed part- or full-time N=125, Married, 156, Stage of cancer 1=101, 2= 82. Outcome was assessed using the depression scale of the Hospital Anxiety & Depression Scale (HADS). Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) procedure was utilized to examine the hypothesis that online chatroom leaders’ high use of positive emotion and cognitive words would related to lower depression in patients post-intervention. Interventions were manualized. Groups had weekly, 90-minute live chat for six weeks. Two 3-step linear equations, one for emotional variables and one for the cognitive variables, were computed. Meetings were added to the variables tested. We found that both positive emotion and cognitive word usage were linked to lower depression post intervention. Based on our previous studies of leader behaviors in support groups leader effects were mediated through other group characteristics. In one case, it was the norms of the group and in the other helpful group experiences, proximal variables. Clearly, leadership is a distal variable and at this point in time what are all the mediating variables.