Count Your Calories and Share Them: Health Benefits of Sharing mHealth Information on Social Networking Sites

Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, Andrew High, John L. Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study investigates the relationship between sharing tracked mobile health (mHealth) information online, supportive communication, feedback, and health behavior. Based on the Integrated Theory of mHealth, our model asserts that sharing tracked health information on social networking sites benefits users’ perceptions of their health because of the supportive communication they gain from members of their online social networks and that the amount of feedback people receive moderates these associations. Users of mHealth apps (N = 511) completed an online survey, and results revealed that both sharing tracked health information and receiving feedback from an online social network were positively associated with supportive communication. Network support both corresponded with improved health behavior and mediated the association between sharing health information and users’ health behavior. As users received greater amounts of feedback from their online social networks, however, the association between sharing tracked health information and health behavior decreased. Theoretical implications for sharing tracked health information and practical implications for using mHealth apps are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1130-1140
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Communication
Volume34
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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