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ERIC Number: EJ1119489
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Dec
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1090-1981
Examining Theory-Based Behavior-Change Constructs, Social Interaction, and Sociability Features of the Weight Watchers' Online Community
Wang, Ye; Willis, Erin
Health Education & Behavior, v43 n6 p656-664 Dec 2016
Objective: To examine whether and to what extent relevant and meaningful discussions of weight loss occurred in the Weight Watchers' online community, and whether and to what extent the online community is designed for fostering such discussions. Methods: A multimethod approach was used here. First, a quantitative content analysis was conducted on 320 posts from 64 threads sampled from's message boards between December 1, 2011, and January 31, 2012. The coding categories included constructs from the health belief model, the planned behavior theory, and the theory of self-efficacy. An acceptable level of intercoder reliability was reached; frequencies, cluster analysis, and t test were reported. Second, a conventional content analysis of the posts was conducted. The posts were examined for themes and patterns within the discussion. Finally, the researchers examined the sociability features of the message boards. The qualitative review followed established procedures and was conducted independently by four researchers. Results: Mastery experience occurred in 46% of the posts. Threads focusing on physical activities contained more perceived barriers, mastery experiences, and verbal persuasion than other types of threads. Posts focusing on diet included unanswered questions about dieting practices with certain medical conditions. Posts focusing on mastery experience celebrated any small step toward success. Posts irrelevant to weight loss mostly contained events and happenings in members' lives. The sociability review revealed a lack of moderation. Conclusion: The Weight Watchers' online community included much discussion about weight loss. Findings suggest that physical activities require more encouragement than dieting. Health educators have an opportunity to interject and moderate meaningful discussions. For example, dieting with certain medical conditions, opinions on various diets, and the relationship between dieting and being healthy are opportunities to facilitate learning. Discussion posts irrelevant to weight loss help build social relationships.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A