Intraindividual, Dyadic, and Network Communication in a Digital Health Intervention: Distinguishing Message Exposure from Message Production

Ranran Z. Mi*, Rachel Kornfield, Dhavan V. Shah, Adam Maus, David H. Gustafson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Communicating within digital health interventions involves a range of behaviors that may contribute to the management of chronic illnesses in different ways. This study examines whether communication within a smartphone-based application for addiction recovery produces distinct effects depending on 1) the “level” of communication, defined as intraindividual communication (e.g., journal entries to oneself); dyadic communication (e.g., private messaging to other individuals); or network communication (e.g., discussion forum posts to all group members), and 2) whether individuals produce or are exposed to messages. We operationalize these communication levels and behaviors based on system use logs as the number of clicks dedicated to each activity and assess how each category of system use relates to changes in group bonding and substance use after 6 months with the mobile intervention. Our findings show that (1) intraindividual exposure to one’s own past posts marginally predicts decreased drug use; (2) dyadic production predicts greater perceived bonding; while dyadic exposure marginally predicts reduced drug use; (3) network production predicts decreased risky drinking. Implications for digital health interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Communication
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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