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Title: How do you “like” me? Exploring Online Interactions in a Facebook-based Obesity Intervention
Authors: Lieberman, Alexandra
Advisors: Levy Paluck, Elizabeth
Contributors: Shelton, Nicole
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: With social media becoming a frequent mode of communication, researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia developed a Facebook-based intervention to investigate how social media can be utilized to prevent childhood obesity in an at-risk population. Contributing to this study, I developed a coding scheme to analyze participants’ Facebook activity with two primary objectives: (1) to describe how participants randomly assigned to the intervention arm of the Grow2Gether trial interact in private Facebook groups, and (2) to determine how their participation is related to their demographic characteristics, feelings of self-efficacy, parental stress, and depression. I analyzed the quantity and quality of 43 participants’ online interactions, specifically measuring five categories of positive feedback: informational support, emotional support, positive reinforcement, appreciation and positive regard. Being more educated was negatively associated with total activity, providing emotional support, and receiving positive regard. Receiving positive regard from other participants was positively associated with feelings of parenting self-efficacy, and receiving emotional support was related to less parental stress. Quantitative measures of Facebook activity were not significantly related to these two outcome variables. Finally, the results show that being more active in one’s Facebook group and providing emotional support and positive regard were positively correlated with depression. I discuss how these observed relationships compare with models of social network influence on health, and report the limitations of the present study. I conclude by providing suggestions for future research exploration into the nature of online social networks.
Extent: 71 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2016

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