Using Instagram to Deliver a Theory-based Wellness Interventi ...

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Abstract

Objective: With a high number of users, social networking sites (SNS), such as Instagram, have the potential to serve as a tool to dispense health information and promote health. This pilot study examines the effect of a four-week wellness intervention on Instagram users with targeted posts regarding fitness, nutritious eating, and self-care behavior change. Methods: A review of best practices in Instagram posts was conducted to create daily posts relating to Theory of Planned Behavior constructs for the wellness areas of fitness, nutritious eating, and self-care. The intervention group (N = 22) and control group (N = 11) were assessed pre and post test using a Theory of Planned Behavior survey. Results: At post-test, self-care intention for the intervention group was significantly higher compared to the control. However, there was not a significant difference between the intervention group and control for engaging in actual self-care behaviors reported at post-test. There were no significant differences between the groups for other constructs pre to post-test. User engagement or lack of engagement with posts did not relate to any differences in constructs at post-test. Conclusion: A wellness intervention delivered through Instagram did not impact health behaviors over a four-week period in the intervention group compared to the control group. Future research should continue examining if SNS interventions, specifically changing what users see and interact with, can influence health behavior outcomes. This pilot study also provides an example of a theory-based intervention that can be tailored to examine effects on behavior change in other populations.