Tailoring Health Messages: Bridging the gap between social and humanistic perspectives on health communication - University of Italian Switzerland - Monte Verità -
Locarno, 9.10 July 2005

Redesign of an Internet Program for Smoking Prevention as a result of new Findings
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Padlina, O.
Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Zuerich
Swiss Federal Office of Sports, Magglingen
education + health Network Switzerland (Swiss Federal Office of Public Health)

feelok is a Prevention and Health Promotion Program for young people, which is online since the beginning of 2002 (see www.feelok.ch). feelok covers the following topics: smoking, cannabis, stress, self-confidence and sexuality. Supported by important Swiss Institutions, feelok is getting enhanced with the new topics „physical activity“, „alimentation“ and „alcohol“. Intensive research accompanies the implementation of feelok. Research results have led to a scientifically well-founded modernisation of the smoking program, which is based on the Transtheoretical Model (TTM). In near future, all programs of feelok will profit from this intensive research work.

Using an innovative statistics-software, the number and length of the visits as well as the sequence of chosen topics of the feelok-program are registered. All in all, 92'505 visitors were registered in one year. Only visits lasting more than 3 minutes and a maximum of 4 hours per feelok-program were included in further analysis, in order to distinguish true from false visitors. Based on this data, the following question could be addressed: Is it reasonable to split general and tailored (this means stage-specific) information into two program sections? The results support a positive answer. Based on these findings, the smoking program was newly conceptualised with the integration of general and stage-specific information in the same web application. After that, the statistics-software continued to protocol the users’ behaviour – which enabled analysis of changes in the users’ behaviour between the two intervention approaches.

Separation of general and stage-specific information on smoking into two sections resulted in 68% of the visitors getting exclusively involved in the general section, but only 9% getting involved in the general and the stage-specific section. Stage-specific involvement in the smoking-topic lasted around 12 minutes in average and the drop-out lay at 64% (percentage of visits lasting less than 3 minutes). In contrast, first results (15th of February 2005) while using the new concept of the smoking program (integration of general and tailored information in the same web application) showed that nearly all visitors of the smoking program got involved with stage-specific information. In addition, the length of a visit lasted nearly 18 minutes in average and the drop-out had dropped to approx. 44%.

First comparative findings suggest an increase in user-satisfaction when general and individual information are available in the same web-section. Moreover, there is a smaller risk that stage-specific involvement in a topic does not take place.