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J Med Internet Res. 2018 Apr 20;20(4):e10143. doi: 10.2196/10143.

Trajectories of 12-Month Usage Patterns for Two Smoking Cessation Websites: Exploring How Users Engage Over Time.

Author information

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, United States.
Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States.
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, Seattle, WA, United States.



Little is known about how individuals engage with electronic health (eHealth) interventions over time and whether this engagement predicts health outcomes.


The objectives of this study, by using the example of a specific type of eHealth intervention (ie, websites for smoking cessation), were to determine (1) distinct groups of log-in trajectories over a 12-month period, (2) their association with smoking cessation, and (3) baseline user characteristics that predict trajectory group membership.


We conducted a functional clustering analysis of 365 consecutive days of log-in data from both arms of a large (N=2637) randomized trial of 2 website interventions for smoking cessation (WebQuit and Smokefree), with a primary outcome of 30-day point prevalence smoking abstinence at 12 months. We conducted analyses for each website separately.


A total of 3 distinct trajectory groups emerged for each website. For WebQuit, participants were clustered into 3 groups: 1-week users (682/1240, 55.00% of the sample), 5-week users (399/1240, 32.18%), and 52-week users (159/1240, 12.82%). Compared with the 1-week users, the 5- and 52-week users had 57% higher odds (odds ratio [OR] 1.57, 95% CI 1.13-2.17; P=.007) and 124% higher odds (OR 2.24, 95% CI 1.45-3.43; P<.001), respectively, of being abstinent at 12 months. Smokefree users were clustered into 3 groups: 1-week users (645/1309, 49.27% of the sample), 4-week users (395/1309, 30.18%), and 5-week users (269/1309, 20.55%). Compared with the 1-week users, 5-week users (but not 4-week users; P=.99) had 48% higher odds (OR 1.48, 95% CI 1.05-2.07; P=.02) of being abstinent at 12 months. In general, the WebQuit intervention had a greater number of weekly log-ins within each of the 3 trajectory groups as compared with those of the Smokefree intervention. Baseline characteristics associated with trajectory group membership varied between websites.


Patterns of 1-, 4-, and 5-week usage of websites may be common for how people engage in eHealth interventions. The 5-week usage of either website, and 52-week usage only of WebQuit, predicted a higher odds of quitting smoking. Strategies to increase eHealth intervention engagement for 4 more weeks (ie, from 1 week to 5 weeks) could be highly cost effective.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01812278; (Archived by WebCite at


acceptance and commitment therapy; eHealth; engagement; patient participation;; smoking; smoking cessation; telemedicine; tobacco; tobacco use cessation; trajectories; websites

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