Currently submitted to: Journal of Medical Internet Research
Date Submitted: Oct 12, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: Oct 12, 2020 - Dec 7, 2020
(currently open for review)
Exploratory Feasibility Study of Quokka: A Local Community-Based Social Network for Wellbeing
Developing healthy habits and maintaining prolonged behavior change is often a difficult task. Mental health is one of the largest health concerns globally, including for people in college.
We conduct an exploratory feasibility study of local community-based interventions, like Quokka, and evaluate the intervention’s potential for promotion of local, social, and unfamiliar activities as they pertain to healthy habits.
To evaluate this framework’s potential for increased participation in healthy habits, we conducted a 6 to 8 week feasibility study via a ‘challenge’ across 4 university campuses with a total of 277 participants. A different wellbeing theme was chosen for each week. We conducted weekly surveys to gauge factors that motivated users to complete or not complete the weekly challenge, identified participation trends, and evaluated the effectiveness of the intervention. We tested the hypotheses that Quokka participants will self-report participation in more local activities over remote activities for all challenges, more social activities than individual activities, and new over familiar activities.
After Bonferroni correction using a Clopper-Pearson Binomial proportion confidence interval for one test, we reject the hypothesis that similar proportion of users would participate in local and remote activities during the challenges (p < 0.001 for all challenge themes). Instead, there was a strong preference for local activities for all challenge themes. Similarly, users significantly preferred group activities over individual activities (p < 0.001 for most challenge themes). For most challenge themes, there were not enough data to significantly distinguish preference towards familiar or new activities (p < 0.001 for a subset of challenge themes in some schools).
We find that local community-based wellbeing interventions like Quokka can facilitate positive behavior change. We discuss these findings and their implications for the research and design of location-based digital communities for wellbeing promotion.
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