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Focus on the Positive: Staying Healthy

“Health Promotion via Social Media: An Exploratory Study About the Determinants of Social Media Use among Healthy People.” 


Reka Anna Lassu- University of Lugano

Melanie Connor- Institute of Communication and Health, University of Lugano


Communication is the central social process in healthcare delivery and health promotion since it is vital in establishing, collecting, and sharing health information. It is therefore, the most important resource in guiding strategic health behaviors, treatments, and decisions (Kreps, 1988). The communication landscape in health has completely changed as individuals’ desire to connect with their peers coupled with the necessary tools, have fueled online discussions about health (Fox, 2011).


E-patients have already gained value from these discussions/ health content online, but individuals do not have to be patients before utilizing social media for health. The leading cause of death worldwide is from noncommunicable or chronic diseases, which are largely preventable by eliminating risk factors, or by addressing the healthy through health promotion. Therefore, health promotion is an increasingly important area of healthcare.


Currently, there are few studies about the use of mainstream social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter for health topics. However, these sites can be used for health promotion to reach the general public and especially the younger generations.

The present study aims to examine which factors influence healthy people’s interactions with mainstream social media for health content in order to gain deeper insight about social media as a new opportunity of interaction for health promotion.


This research was presented at the following conference: 

Medicine 2.0, 5th World Congress on Social Media,

Mobile Apps, and Internet/Web 2.0 in Medicine, Health,

and Biomedical Research.


15-16 September 2012


Boston, Massachusetts, USA. 

Learn more about this research

World Congress on Social Media,

Mobile Apps, and Internet/Web 2.0  in Health, Medicine, and Biomedical Research

Food for Thought:


Self-management in Healthcare 

Meeting e-patient Dave in Switzerland and hearing his story inspired this research project.

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