Dkrainwater’s Weblog

Support Groups Found More Popular by Embarrassing Conditions Such As AIDS, Breast Cancer, Alcoholism

Posted on: October 22, 2008

In an effort to find out who goes to the support groups, Davison, Pennebaker, and Dickerson (2000) conducted a study after realizing that more Americans try to change their physical and mental health behaviors through self-help groups other than traditional medicine. At little to no cost, the mutual support groups have been shown to have a powerful effect on physical and mental health. The researchers admitted that little was not known on the patterns of support group participation nor what kinds of illnesses prompted patients to seek this kind of care. The researchers measured twenty diseases in four major urban centers (New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Chicago). They found that support groups and support functions was highest for diseases that were perceived as stigmatizing or embarrassing. These disorders included breast cancer, prostrate cancer, AIDS, and alcoholism. The least visited support groups were those less embarrassing but just as deadly like heart disease.

In this author’s opinion, the embarrassment of the disease or disorder should not be an issue. Though social norms guide these people to support groups because the disorder is devastating in not only the healthy aspect, but they are also guided by the social and sexual aspect. AIDS, prostrate cancer, and breast cancer has the ability to cripple someone’s personal sex life or a relationship with a partner. The non-embarrassing condition, such as heart disease, has little to no social implications except for death and the separation from love ones forever. Death seems to be an escape from the disease without social or emotional implications during life.

Don Rainwater has written many articles of alternative medicine, vitamins, and supplements. Please visit his website at


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