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Quitting smoking using health issue-specific Social Networking Sites (SNSs): What influences participation, social identification, and smoking cessation self-efficacy?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 August 2013

Joe Phua*
University of Georgia
Address for Correspondence: Joe Phua, PhD, Assistant Professor, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia, 120 Hooper Street, Athens, GA 30602, USA, E-mail:, Phone: (706) 542-4984


Introduction: This study examined members of health issue-specific social networking sites (SNSs) for smoking cessation, applying Social Identity Theory (SIT).

Aims: The aim of the study was to test the relationships between perceived verbal, affective, cognitive and physical intimacy on the sites, participation level, social identification and smoking cessation self-efficacy.

Methods: An online questionnaire (N = 252) assessed members of SNSs for smoking cessation. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), structural equation modelling (SEM), mediation analysis, MANOVA and ANOVA tests were used to test the hypotheses.

Results/Findings: Verbal, affective, cognitive and physical intimacy significantly predicted participation; participation significantly predicted social identification and smoking cessation self-efficacy; and social identification mediated between participation and smoking cessation self-efficacy. Active participants and lurkers differed significantly on perceived verbal, affective, cognitive and physical intimacy, social identification, and smoking cessation self-efficacy.

Conclusions: Health issue-specific SNSs for smoking cessation have a positive impact on members’ smoking cessation self-efficacy. Higher perceived intimacy facilitates participation online, which in turn influences smoking cessation self-efficacy, with social identification mediating this relationship.

Copyright © The Author(s), published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Australian Academic Press Pty Ltd 2013 

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