Theories into practice: a content analysis of anti‐smoking websites

Hye‐Jin Paek (Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Retailing, College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Beom Jun Bae (Department of Communication, College of Communication, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Thomas Hove (Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Retailing, College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Hyunjae Yu (School of Communication, Sogang University, Seoul, South Korea)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Publication date: 28 January 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the extent to which anti‐smoking websites use intervention strategies that have been informed by four prominent theories of health‐related behavior change: the health belief model, the theory of reasoned action/theory of planned behavior, the transtheoretical model, and social cognitive theory.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis was applied to 67 unique and independent anti‐smoking websites to determine their use of 20 intervention strategies based on the four theories.

Findings

The findings reveal that anti‐smoking websites used the health belief model the most and social cognitive theory the least. In addition, websites devoted to smoking cessation used these theories more extensively than websites devoted to smoking prevention.

Research limitations/implications

The sample size is somewhat small, which may result in lack of sufficient statistical power. Also, the analysis may have overlooked some important intervention strategies that are particularly effective for smoking intervention programs.

Practical implications

Anti‐smoking website designers should take more advantage of the internet as a health promotion medium and use more intervention strategies that have been informed by scientifically tested theories of behavior change, particularly with respect to affective and behavioral strategies.

Originality/value

This study contributes to current knowledge about which kinds of anti‐smoking messages are available online and how extensively they employ theory‐based intervention strategies.

Keywords

Citation

Paek, H., Jun Bae, B., Hove, T. and Yu, H. (2011), "Theories into practice: a content analysis of anti‐smoking websites", Internet Research, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 5-25. https://doi.org/10.1108/10662241111104857

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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