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Behavioural interventions delivered through interactive social media for health behaviour change, health outcomes, and health equity in the adult population (Review)


PETKOVIC Jennifer, et al


John Wiley and Sons

Publication year:


Background: Social networking platforms offer a wide reach for public health interventions allowing communication with broad audiences using tools that are generally free and straightforward to use and may be combined with other components, such as public health policies. We define interactive social media as activities, practices, or behaviours among communities of people who have gathered online to interactively share information, knowledge, and opinions. Objectives: We aimed to assess the effectiveness of interactive social media interventions, in which adults are able to communicate directly with each other, on changing health behaviours, body functions, psychological health, well‐being, and adverse effects. Our secondary objective was to assess the effects of these interventions on the health of populations who experience health inequity as defined by PROGRESS‐Plus. We assessed whether there is evidence about PROGRESS‐Plus populations being included in studies and whether results are analysed across any of these characteristics. Search methods: We searched CENTRAL, CINAHL, Embase, MEDLINE (including trial registries) and PsycINFO. We used Google, Web of Science, and relevant web sites to identify additional studies and searched reference lists of included studies. We searched for published and unpublished studies from 2001 until June 1, 2020. We did not limit results by language. […] Authors' conclusions: This review combined data for a variety of outcomes and found that social media interventions that aim to increase physical activity may be effective and social media interventions may improve well‐being. While we assessed many other outcomes, there were too few studies to compare or, where there were studies, the evidence was uncertain. None of our included studies reported adverse effects related to the social media component of the intervention. Future studies should assess adverse events related to the interactive social media component and should report on population characteristics to increase our understanding of the potential effect of these interventions on reducing health inequities. (Edited publisher abstract)

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