Plunkett, Frances (2013) To explore the efficacy of Facebook as a platform for a stage matched smoking cessation intervention – a netnography. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.
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It is suggested that the widespread adoption of social media has created huge potential for the social marketing of health promotion. The social support found in social media networks is cited as a significant factor in terms of mediating behaviour change. However, it is accepted that there is limited research in this area, and it is not known to what extent social media can affect behaviour change. The Transtheoretical Model of Health Behaviour highlights that individuals are in different stages of readiness to change their behaviour and a number of behavioural and cognitive processes can support movement through each of the model’s six stages of change. This study explores the HSE’s You Can Quit Facebook community as a stage-matched smoking cessation intervention using a non-participant netnography approach. To examine the relationship between social support and stages of change the author used thematic analysis to study the comments and posts of members of this community. This study demonstrates that individuals engage with this community in different ways depending on their stage of change. Early stage quitters engage most with the community, followed closely by those who have successfully quit for over six months. Early stage quitters receive and benefit from motivational support and advice and information from later stage members. Those who have quit use the community as a platform to publically congratulate themselves on their achievements. Helping others and proclaiming their milestone achievements on Facebook spur this group on. This study concludes that Facebook is an effective platform for a stage-matched smoking cessation intervention for early stage quitters and for supporting those in maintenance.
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