The Experience of Blogging about Visible and Long-term Skin Conditions: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Preprint)

Selina Kaur Tour, Andrew Thompson, Ruth A Howard, Michael Larkin

Research output: Preprint or Working paperPreprint



Skin conditions can detract from people’s quality of life, much as conditions such as cancer, chronic pain and depression. When skin conditions are visible, this can lead to risk of stigmatisation. It is acknowledged that there is a lack of available psychosocial support for people living with chronic skin conditions. One way in which individuals with long-term conditions are self-managing and providing peer support is through blogging and exchanging information online. To date, no research has specifically investigated how individuals with skin conditions experience of using blogging for self-management.


To explore the experiences of blogging about visible, long-term skin conditions.


Systematic blog searching and a short survey were used for recruitment. Four participants took part in email interviews which were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Skin conditions included alopecia, psoriasis and hirsutism. The content of these individuals’ blogs was also analysed using a qualitative template method derived from the IPA analysis.


The interviews and accounts revealed a clear sense of uncertainty about the course of the skin conditions. This appeared to be associated with feelings of distress and isolation, searching for treatments, and ultimately a sense of defeat. The data revealed that blogging provided a space where this sense of defeat was managed and challenged. Posting online facilitated connection with others and enabled support networks to be established which assisting in challenging the feelings of isolation experienced. The data demonstrates the important role that blogging played for these participants in developing a sense of acceptance of their condition.


Blogging may provide a way for individuals to self-manage the distress associated with visible skin conditions. It may provide similar benefits as those known to be derived from emotional disclosure occurring during writing, but with the addition of an added peer support dimension. Blogging has occurred naturalistically on online forums and this study demonstrates how this form of interaction might warrant adaptation for use with online psychosocial interventions for people living with skin conditions. Clinical Trial: NA
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2021

Publication series

NameJMIR Dermatology

Bibliographical note

© The authors. All rights reserved. This is a privileged document currently under peer-review/community review (or an accepted/rejected manuscript). Authors have provided JMIR Publications with an exclusive license to publish this preprint on it's website for review and ahead-of-print citation purposes only. While the final peer-reviewed paper may be licensed under a cc-by license on publication, at this stage authors and publisher expressively prohibit redistribution of this draft paper other than for review purposes.


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