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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)

This paper has been accepted and is currently in production.

It will appear shortly on 10.2196/jmir.9689

The final accepted version (not copyedited yet) is in this tab.

The final, peer-reviewed published version of this preprint can be found here:

Using Facebook for Health Promotion in “Hard-to-Reach” Truck Drivers: Qualitative Analysis

Sendall MC, McCosker LK, Crane P, Rowland B, Fleming M, Biggs HC

Using Facebook for Health Promotion in “Hard-to-Reach” Truck Drivers: Qualitative Analysis

J Med Internet Res 2018;20(11):e286

DOI: 10.2196/jmir.9689

PMID: 30389653

PMCID: 6238102

Using Facebook for Health Promotion in “Hard-to-Reach” Truck Drivers: Qualitative Analysis

  • Marguerite C. Sendall; 
  • Laura K. McCosker; 
  • Phil Crane; 
  • Bevan Rowland; 
  • Marylou Fleming; 
  • Herbert C. Biggs



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 “hard-to-reach” 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 Truckin’ 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 managers’ and truck drivers’ 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 “wrong age” 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 “no Facebook” 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 workers’ 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 “hard-to-reach” groups.


Please cite as:

Sendall MC, McCosker LK, Crane P, Rowland B, Fleming M, Biggs HC

Using Facebook for Health Promotion in “Hard-to-Reach” Truck Drivers: Qualitative Analysis

Journal of Medical Internet Research. (forthcoming/in press)

DOI: 10.2196/jmir.9689


PMID: 30389653

PMCID: 6238102

© The authors. All rights reserved. This is a privileged document currently under peer-review/community review (or an accepted/rejected manuscript). Authors have provided JMIR Publications with an exclusive license to publish this preprint on it's website for review and ahead-of-print citation purposes only. While the final peer-reviewed paper may be licensed under a cc-by license on publication, at this stage authors and publisher expressively prohibit redistribution of this draft paper other than for review purposes.