Submitted to: Annals of Behavioral Medicine
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2006
Publication Date: 3/1/2006
Citation: Thompson, D.I., Baranowski, T., Cullen, K., Watson, K., Liu, Y. 2006. Food, fun, & fitness Internet program: incentives, recruitment source, & log-on rate [abstract]. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 31(suppl):S027. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Youth obesity is epidemic. The Internet holds promise for behavior change because of wide availability and accessibility. Further, modeling, interactivity, and feedback can be easily integrated. However, log-on rate, which controls program dose, has typically been less than desirable. Incentives have promoted desired behaviors and hold promise for enhancing log-on rate. The purpose of this study examined the effect of incentive schedule on log-on rate in an Internet-based obesity prevention program. Eighty 8- to 10-year-old African-American girls were enrolled in an 8-week Internet-based obesity prevention program emphasizing diet and physical activity. A two-group design was employed, with baseline and post assessment. Girls were randomly assigned to receive an immediate or delayed incentive ($5 gift card) for logging on to the program web site each week and completing the required activities. The web site emphasized self-regulatory behaviors (e.g., problem solving, decision making, goal setting, goal review, self monitoring) and asking/negotiation skills. Recruitment procedures included presentations to gatekeepers/community groups, flyers, and media solicitations. Results showed that an average log-on rate was 73% and did not vary significantly by incentive group. Log-on rate did vary significantly by recruitment method, however, with girls recruited via the media (78%) having higher log-on rates than girls recruited through non-media methods (e.g., churches, physician office, flyers, etc.) (69%). In conclusion, small incentives, regardless of reinforcement schedule, appear to have had a positive effect on youth log-on rate. Careful consideration needs to be given to recruitment method to avoid participation and/or compliance bias.