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JMIR Res Protoc. 2018 Apr 24;7(4):e116. doi: 10.2196/resprot.7764.

Perceptions About Disseminating Health Information Among Mommy Bloggers: Quantitative Study.

Author information

1
Westat, Rockville, MD, United States.
2
Department of Communication, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, United States.
#
Contributed equally

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Social media are potentially powerful channels for communicating relevant health information in culturally sensitive and influential ways to key audiences. Moreover, these channels hold promise for promoting awareness and knowledge of health risks, prevention, and treatment by utilizing opinion leaders for message dissemination. Despite limited empirical evidence to-date, early promising results suggest that blogs are a form of social media that should be examined as worthy channels for health communication.

OBJECTIVES:

This formative study explored mommy bloggers' perceptions about sharing health-related information on their blogs with their readers. It also sought to analyze which topics would be of most interest to mommy bloggers, what motivates them to write about health issues, and how they perceive interest in these topics among their readers.

METHODS:

This study employed survey methodology, including the use of open-ended questions, the responses to which were coded for analysis. Specifically, a 14-item survey was fielded with mommy bloggers between October 1 and October 28, 2016. Bloggers were recruited through The Motherhood network. A total of 461 mommy bloggers responded to the survey; 163 were removed for low quality responses and incomplete data. As a result, 298 eligible participants completed the survey. For open-ended questions in the survey, a sample of responses were coded and analyzed.

RESULTS:

The majority of the respondents (87.2%, 260/298) reported that they have written about health issues in the past; 97.3% (290/298) of the respondents reported that they would consider writing about health issues sometime in the future, and 96.3% (287/298) of the respondents reported that their readers like to read about health issues on their blogs. In terms of content priorities for this sample of bloggers, Nutrition and Physical Activity dominate the current conversation and similarly, Physical Activity and Nutrition remain top content priorities for these bloggers for the future. Moreover, 21.3% of the respondents reported that their readers would be interested in these topics. Finally, having a personal connection with a health issue was found to be positively associated with likeliness to write about health issues on their blog (P<.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

This study illustrates that there are potentially rich opportunities for working with mommy bloggers to communicate with key health decision makers (moms) on important health issues. There is a great support among mommy bloggers for health information dissemination as well as interest for accessing relevant health information from their readers. This presents an opportunity for public health research and communication campaigns to more broadly promote their messages, thereby contributing to their behavior change objectives. Limitations included overrepresentation of white, higher-educated, and younger women. It suggests a need for more targeted engagement of a diverse sample for future work.

KEYWORDS:

health information dissemination; health messages; mommy bloggers; social media

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