Currently accepted at: Journal of Medical Internet Research
Date Submitted: Dec 19, 2017
Open Peer Review Period: Dec 20, 2017 - Feb 22, 2018
Date Accepted: Jul 22, 2018
(closed for review but you can still tweet)
Using Facebook for Health Promotion in â€œHard-to-Reachâ€ Truck Drivers: Qualitative Analysis
Workers in the road transport industry, and particularly truck drivers, are at increased risk of chronic diseases. Innovative health promotion strategies involving technologies such as social media may engage this â€œhard-to-reachâ€ group. There is a paucity of evidence for the efficacy of social media technologies for health promotion in the Australian transport industry.
This study analyzed qualitative data from interviews and focus group discussions to evaluate a social media health promotion intervention, the Truckinâ€™ Healthy Facebook webpage, in selected Australian transport industry workplaces.
We engaged 5 workplace managers and 30 truck drivers from 6 transport industry organizations in developing workplace health promotion strategies, including a social media intervention, within a Participatory Action Research approach. Mixed methods, including a pre- and postintervention manager survey, truck driver survey, key informant semistructured interviews, truck driver focus groups, and focused observation, were used to evaluate the social media intervention. We asked questions about workplace managersâ€™ and truck driversâ€™ opinions, engagement, and satisfaction with the intervention. This paper focuses on qualitative data.
Of the workplace managers who reported implementing the social media intervention at their workplace, all (3/3, 100%) reported satisfaction with the intervention and expressed a keen interest in learning more about social media and how it may be used for workplace health promotion and other purposes. Truck drivers were poorly engaged with the intervention because (1) many believed they were the â€œwrong ageâ€ and lacked the necessary skills; (2) the cost of smartphone technology was prohibitive; (3) they confined their use of social media to nonwork-related purposes; and (4) many workplaces had â€œno Facebookâ€ policies.
The use of social media as a health promotion intervention in transport industry workplaces has potential. Workplace interventions using social media can benefit from a Participatory Action Research approach. Involving managers and workers in the design of social media health promotion interventions and developing strategies to support and deliver the interventions helps to facilitate their success. The workersâ€™ profile, including their age and familiarity with social media, and work, workplace, and family context is important to consider in this process. Much more research needs to be undertaken to better understand the effective use of social media to engage â€œhard-to-reachâ€ groups.
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