MOBILE SOCIAL WORK

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Weight loss social support in 140 characters or less: use of an online social network in a remotely delivered weight loss intervention – Online First – Springer

ABSTRACT

Little is known about how online social networking can help enhance weight loss. To examine the types of online social support utilized in a behavioral weight loss intervention and relationship of posting and weight loss. A sub-analysis of the content and number of posts to Twitter among participants (n = 47) randomized to a mobile, social network arm as part of a 6-month trial among overweight adults, examining weight loss, use of Twitter, and type of social support (informational, tangible assistance, esteem, network, and emotional support). A number of Twitter posts were related to % weight loss at 6 months (p < 0.001). Initial reported weight loss predicted engagement with Twitter (p < 0.01) but prior Twitter use or initial Twitter engagement did not. Most Twitter posts (total posts n = 2,630) were Informational support (n = 1,981; 75 %), with the predominant subtype of Teaching (n = 1,632; 62 %), mainly in the form of a status update (n = 1,319). Engagement with Twitter was related to weight loss and participants mainly used Twitter to provide Information support to one another through status updates.

Implications

Practice: As part of a behavior weight loss program, engagement in a social network, such as Twitter, mainly provides informational social support, which may assist with weight loss. Policy: Before investing in making extensive online social networks as part of remotely delivered weight loss programs, resources should be devoted to exploring who benefits from these social networks and how to engage people more effectively. Research: Research is needed to explore how to engage users in online social networks, or provide them with alternate methods of support, during remotely delivered behavioral weight loss interventions.

Weight loss social support in 140 characters or less: use of an online social network in a remotely delivered weight loss intervention - Online First - Springer

via Weight loss social support in 140 characters or less: use of an online social network in a remotely delivered weight loss intervention – Online First – Springer.

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This entry was posted on February 19, 2013 by in Eating Disorders, Science, Social Media and tagged , , , .
Lutz Siemer

Lutz Siemer

Education, Research & Development in Social Work & IT After working as an alternative practitioner and psychotherapist in private practice for nearly ten years I stepped over to higher education in 2005. At Saxion University of Applied Sciences I lecture and do research and development in the area of Social Work, Psychology and IT. Currently I'm focussing on merging mobile technology and social work.

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