The use of social media to communicate child health information to low-income parents: A formative study

Stephanie Jean Stroever, The University of Texas School of Public Health

Abstract

The Internet, and specifically web 2.0 social media applications, offers an innovative method for communicating child health information to low-income parents. The main objective of this study was to use qualitative data to determine the value of using social media to reach low-income parents with child health information. A qualitative formative evaluation employing focus groups was used to determine the value of using social media for dissemination of child health information. Inclusion criteria included: (1) a parent with a child that attends a school in a designated Central Texas school district; and (2) English-speaking. The students who attend these schools are generally economically disadvantaged and are predominately Hispanic. The classic analysis strategy was used for data analysis. Focus group participants (n=19) were female (95%); White (53%), Hispanic (42%) or African American (5%); and received government assistance (63%). Most had access to the Internet (74%) and were likely to have low health literacy (53%). The most preferred source of child health information was the family pediatrician or general practitioner. Many participants were familiar with social media applications and had profiles on popular social networking sites, but used them infrequently. Objections to social media sites as sources of child health information included lack of credibility and parent time. Social media has excellent potential for reaching low-income parents when used as part of a multi-channel communication campaign. Further research should focus on the most effective type and format of messages that can promote behavior change in this population, such as story-telling. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Public Health|Web Studies

Recommended Citation

Stephanie Jean Stroever, "The use of social media to communicate child health information to low-income parents: A formative study" (January 1, 2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). Paper AAI1494830.
http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/dissertations/AAI1494830

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