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Self-reported behaviour change among multiple sclerosis community members and interested laypeople following participation in a free online course about multiple sclerosis


Claflin, SB and Mainsbridge, C and Campbell, J and Klekociuk, S and Taylor, BVM, Self-reported behaviour change among multiple sclerosis community members and interested laypeople following participation in a free online course about multiple sclerosis, Health Promotion Journal of Australia ISSN 2201-1617 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 Australian Health Promotion Association

DOI: doi:10.1002/hpja.559


Issue addressed: Evaluated the impact of Understanding Multiple Sclerosis (MS) massive open online course, which was intended to increase understanding and awareness about MS, on self-reported health behaviour change.

Methods: Observational cohort study evaluating pre- (baseline) and post-course (8-10-week follow-up) survey data. The main study outcomes were self-reported health behaviour change, change type and measurable improvement. We also collected participant characteristic data (eg, age, physical activity). We compared participants who reported health behaviour change at follow-up to those who did not and compared those who improved with those who did not using chi square and t tests. Participant characteristics, change types and change improvement were described descriptively.

Results: A total of N = 560 course completers were included in this study. The study cohort included MS community members (eg, people with MS, health care providers) and nonmembers. Two hundred and forty-seven (44.1%) reported behaviour change in ≥1 area at follow-up, 160 (64.8%) reported a measurable change and, of these, 109 (68.1%) showed improvement. Participants who reported a change and those who improved had significantly lower precourse health behaviours and characteristics (eg, quality of life, diet quality). The most reported change types were knowledge, exercise/physical activity, diet and care practice.

Conclusion: Understanding MS encourages health behaviour change among course completers, primarily through the provision of information and goal-setting activities and discussions. SO WHAT?: An online education intervention can effectively encourage health behaviour change over an 8-10-week follow-up period. Information provision, including both scientific evidence and lived experience, and goal-setting activities and discussions are the primary mechanisms underpinning that change.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:eHealth, health behaviour change, health education, health promotion, multiple sclerosis
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Public health
Research Field:Health promotion
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Claflin, SB (Dr Suzi Claflin)
UTAS Author:Mainsbridge, C (Mr Casey Mainsbridge)
UTAS Author:Campbell, J (Dr Julie Campbell)
UTAS Author:Klekociuk, S (Dr Shannon Klekociuk)
UTAS Author:Taylor, BVM (Professor Bruce Taylor)
ID Code:149361
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2022-03-28
Last Modified:2022-04-22

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