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Using Facebook to gain health information and support: How attitude, norms, and locus of control predict women's intentions


Mitchell, Gemma and Grieve, R, Using Facebook to gain health information and support: How attitude, norms, and locus of control predict women's intentions, Australian Psychologist pp. 1-16. ISSN 0005-0067 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2020 The Australian Psychological Society

DOI: doi:10.1111/ap.12467


Objective: As a popular social networking site, Facebook may assist in promoting health behaviours and delivering interventions. However, women rarely use social media for health‐related purposes. This study aimed to identify factors influencing women's intentions to use Facebook to gain health‐related support or information.

Method: Using an online survey, data were collected from 159 adult females (Mean age = 26.81 years). Two hierarchical regressions were performed (Outcomes: health‐related emotional support‐seeking intentions on Facebook; health‐relatedinformation‐seeking intentions on Facebook). Predictors were age, past information/support‐seeking on Facebook, time spent on Facebook per day (Step 1), health concern, appearance concern (Step 2), health locus of control (LOC; Step 3) and Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) variables (Step 4).

Results: As hypothesised, the TPB constructs significantly predicted intention to use Facebook for health information and support. For information‐seeking intention, TPB variables explained an additional 18.3% of the variance over and above that explained in previous steps of the model. Significant contributors were past information‐seeking, attitude towards seeking health‐related information on Facebook, and subjective norm. For support‐seeking intention, TPB variables explained an additional 20.2% of variance. Significant contributors were attitude towards seeking health‐related support on Facebook, past support‐seeking, and powerful others LOC. Both final models accounted for 56.5% of the variance in information/support‐seeking intentions.

Conclusions: The TPB constructs effectively predict intentions to seek health information/support on Facebook in women. To increase women's engagement with Facebook for health information and support‐seeking purposes, previous behaviours, attitudes, perceived social pressures, and locus of control warrant consideration.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:emotional support, Facebook, health information, health locus of control, social media, theory of planned behaviour
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Social and personality psychology
Research Field:Gender psychology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in psychology
UTAS Author:Mitchell, Gemma (Mrs Gemma Mitchell)
UTAS Author:Grieve, R (Dr Rachel Grieve)
ID Code:139602
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2020-06-23
Last Modified:2020-08-13

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