Fit Minded College Edition-Podcasts: Feasibility of using a Facebook page to promote physical activity in female college students as compared to a website discussion board
Background: The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of using Facebook as compared to a discussion board in an online, web-based intervention, Fit Minded College Edition-Podcasts (FMCEP), to improve physical activity and self-worth in female college students.
Methods: Participants (n=55) were randomly assigned to either a private Facebook group (FB) or the Fit Minded discussion board (DB) to participate in discussion of health and wellness related podcasts. FMCEP was a 6-week intervention guided by the self-determination theory (SDT) to target autonomy, relatedness and competence. Each week participants were instructed to complete three tasks: (1) listen to an assigned podcast, (2) complete a workbook assignment, and (3) participate in FB or DB online discussion. Participants completed assessments at baseline and post-intervention (6-weeks).
Results: Self-reported physical activity (p=0.032, η2= 0.193) and physical self-worth (p<0.001, η2=0.747) increased significantly over time, but no difference was seen between the groups for both physical activity (p=0.266, η2= 0.056) and physical self-worth (p=0.485, η2=0.024). Website use (measured by mean number of engagements per day, each week) declined across the 6-week intervention in the DB group but was consistent in the FB group.
Conclusion: These findings suggest web-based interventions, guided by SDT, can improve physical activity and physical self-worth among female college students, and the Facebook group may be more feasible and effective. Future studies are needed to optimize web-based physical activity interventions in college females.