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Facebook-mediated social support in the transgender community: a thematic analysis of user experiences

McGuiness, Adam (2018) Facebook-mediated social support in the transgender community: a thematic analysis of user experiences. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The transgender community has unique social support needs due to the myriad of issues surrounding their physical and psychological transition, however identification and discussion of these needs has been neglected in previous literature, which has had an almost exclusively quantitative focus. The present study aimed to explore the ways in which social support was given and received through the medium of Facebook groups, developed by and for transgender users of the social networking site. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with seven transgender participants and the data were subjected to analysis using the principles of thematic analysis established by Braun and Clarke (2006). The analysis led to the uncovering of three main themes – the types of social support on offer, the features of transgender specific Facebook groups, and the role of interpersonal interaction in the perceptions of social support. Previous definitions of social support are expanded upon, suggesting that minority groups may provide social support to peers in a manner specific to that group's needs. Facebook also ­­­­provides a unique space in which to provide support in a manner more suited to the needs of the transgender community. Implications and limitations of the findings are discussed.

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