Increasing Acceptance of Online Health Information: Understanding Barriers, Tailoring Messages and Self-Affirmation

Fielden, Amy (2012) Increasing Acceptance of Online Health Information: Understanding Barriers, Tailoring Messages and Self-Affirmation. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

The majority of deaths worldwide can now be attributed to so called, diseases of lifestyle, also known as non-communicable diseases (NCDs). These diseases are generally attributed to lifestyle behaviours, such as low fruit and vegetable consumption and lack of physical activity. Whilst historically NCDs have been known as diseases of the rich, current evidence shows that they are most prevalent in
individuals with low socio-economic status. This thesis sets out to specifically address this issue by recruiting participants from a low SES population, in order to develop and test a web-based intervention addressing lifestyle behaviours.

Initially the research identifies, and explores the barriers experienced by low SES individuals to leading healthy lifestyles, through interview data and further Q-sort analysis. The findings from these studies are used to tailor a health message, making it more pertinent to the target audience; the resulting message is incorporated into a
website. The website is developed by understanding what constitutes a credible health related site in the eyes of the target audience.

Initially the research identifies, and explores the barriers experienced by low SES individuals to leading healthy lifestyles, through interview data and further Q-sort
analysis. The findings from these studies are used to tailor a health message, making it more pertinent to the target audience; the resulting message is incorporated into a
website. The website is developed by understanding what constitutes a credible health related site in the eyes of the target audience.

Self-affirmation theory (Steele, 1988) posits that reflecting on one’s positive attributes, reduces defensiveness to a potentially threatening health message. A
recent study (Epton and Harris, 2008) suggests self-affirmation can lead to an actual change in the behaviour of individuals. This thesis replicates the work of Epton and
Harris (2008) in an online environment, by demonstrating self-affirmed participants consumed more fruit and vegetable in the 7 days following exposure to the tailored website. These findings highlight the barriers experienced by low SES parents to adopting healthy lifestyles, and present a novel technique suitable for web-based interventions that has implications for a range of health related behaviours.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: health psychology, behaviour change, online intervention, mixed methods research, at-risk populations
Subjects: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences > Psychology
University Services > Research and Business Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2013 12:16
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2016 21:42
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/14687

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