Social Media May Make Quitting Smoking Easier

Survey finds members more likely to quit and find it easier to quit

FRIDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- People who participate in health issue-specific social networking sites find it easier to quit smoking, according to research published online Sept. 16 in the Journal of Communication.

Joe Phua, Ph.D., from the University of Georgia in Athens, used an online survey to examine 252 members of health issue-specific social networking sites for smoking cessation to assess whether social identification, bridging and bonding social capital, perceived subjective norms, and social support would impact the relationship between participation and smoking cessation self-efficacy.

The researchers found that participation in health issue-specific social networking sites significantly influenced each social factor, which in turn resulted in greater smoking cessation self-efficacy. Future research needs to investigate the intersection between new media technologies and social influence strategies to identify the conditions under which effective health issue-specific social communities can flourish.

"By applying and extending traditional peer influence theories, a structural model predicting five underlying mechanisms of social interconnectedness that influence perceived behavioral control for quitting smoking was tested and supported," Phua writes.

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