How do online communities matter? Comparison between active and non-active participants in an online behavioral weight loss program
Taiminen, H. (2016). How do online communities matter? Comparison between active and non-active participants in an online behavioral weight loss program. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 787-795. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.06.002
Published inComputers in Human Behavior
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by Elsevier. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
This paper contributes to the discussion on the potential of different social media platforms in health behavior change programs. More specifically, it compares the outcomes of participation in different online community platforms in an online behavioral weight loss program. Results show that active participants on online community platforms perceive their service experience more positively, follow instructions more precisely, have a more positive perception of achieving their goals, and also feel that they receive more social support than do those who do not actively participate in online community channels, although no differences were found related to weight loss itself. Furthermore, interesting differences were found in the perceptions of participants on different types of social media platforms. For example, those who actively participated in a Facebook-based online community reported receiving more emotional support than did those who participated in a discussion forum-based online community. The results shed light on what types of outcomes active participation in different kinds of online communities might have for individuals. A description is provided of possible strategies for service providers in terms of facilitating the service experience that they provide. ...
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