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Adapting Behavioral Interventions for Social Media Delivery
Open Access Articles
  • Sherry L. Pagoto, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Molly E. Waring, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Christine N. May, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Eric Y. Ding, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Werner H. Kunz, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Rashelle B. Hayes, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Jessica L. Oleski, University of Massachusetts Medical School
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center
Publication Date
Document Type

Patients are increasingly using online social networks (ie, social media) to connect with other patients and health care professionals--a trend called peer-to-peer health care. Because online social networks provide a means for health care professionals to communicate with patients, and for patients to communicate with each other, an opportunity exists to use social media as a modality to deliver behavioral interventions. Social media-delivered behavioral interventions have the potential to reduce the expense of behavioral interventions by eliminating visits, as well as increase our access to patients by becoming embedded in their social media feeds. Trials of online social network-delivered behavioral interventions have shown promise, but much is unknown about intervention development and methodology. In this paper, we discuss the process by which investigators can translate behavioral interventions for social media delivery. We present a model that describes the steps and decision points in this process, including the necessary training and reporting requirements. We also discuss issues pertinent to social media-delivered interventions, including cost, scalability, and privacy. Finally, we identify areas of research that are needed to optimize this emerging behavioral intervention modality.

  • behavioral interventions,
  • health behavior,
  • online social networks,
  • social media
Rights and Permissions
Copyright Sherry Pagoto, Molly E Waring, Christine N May, Eric Y Ding, Werner H Kunz, Rashelle Hayes, Jessica L Oleski. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.
DOI of Published Version
J Med Internet Res. 2016 Jan 29;18(1):e24. doi: 10.2196/jmir.5086. Link to article on publisher's site
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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID
Citation Information
Sherry L. Pagoto, Molly E. Waring, Christine N. May, Eric Y. Ding, et al.. "Adapting Behavioral Interventions for Social Media Delivery" Vol. 18 Iss. 1 (2016) ISSN: 1438-8871 (Linking)
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