Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


MYMOVEZ Report Summary

Project ID: 617253
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Netherlands

Periodic Report Summary 2 - SNIHCY (Social Network Implementation of Health Campaigns Among Youth)

Youth are an important target group for health communication interventions, because they are susceptible in adopting unhealthy habits and behaviors. They are surrounded by social influence agents and role models co-determining their energy balance-related behaviors. Social media enable to reach youth via their social networks. Research attention is still limited to sporadic and ad hoc evaluation studies and there is a lack of a systematic, comprehensive, and predictive approach. This project aims to develop a method for effective campaign implementation by targeting young people’s social networks via social media. Social forces (i.e., important classmates and friends that influence youth's health behaviors) are used to enhance campaign effects on physical activity, snacking and drinking behavior.

The project contains a large-scale cross-sequential cohort study (N = 1,000; 8-15 y/o) and several randomized control trials (pilot studies) and smaller experimental studies which are carried out during a 5 year period. The cohort study has 3 phases that run during a 3 year period. Phase I involves baseline measurements (2016) aiming to identify the most influential social agents and their influence mechanisms, with follow-up measurements one (2017) and two (2018) years later. The project examines youth’s media and social network exposure, socialization processes, psychological determinants of behavior, and energy balance-related behaviors with the ‘Wearable Lab.’ The Wearable Lab is a smart phone-based research application connected to an activity tracker bracelet. In Phase II, campaign message strategies are developed and tested with the influence agents based on the baseline and follow-up data as well as several pilot studies. Finally, a social network-implemented campaign will be tested in Phase III.

The project is halfway, with important results already achieved. The Wearable Lab collects data successfully for social network implemented health campaigns while keeping young people motivated to participate in longitudinal research due to its modern and fun research method. It enables data collection of individual and environmental determinants of energy balance-related behaviors on daily randomized and planned time points, and allows the implementation and evaluation of health campaigns via social media. Preliminary findings show that intrinsic motivation and friend’s social norms are important determinants of health related behaviors among youth. This suggests that campaign messages should make use of role models and use combined messages framed to intrinsically motivate children while referring to external social norms. Social network data is still being analyzed. A social network intervention will be developed and tested in the period between February - June 2018.

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