Previous research has shown that physical (face-to-face) social support and online social support can have a positive influence on the health outcomes of participants in health intervention programs. However, little is known about how the two types of support work when they are provided simultaneously compared to when they are provided separately. In this study, the effects of both types of support are assessed simultaneously to compare their impacts on the health outcomes of participants in a health intervention program. It is hypothesized that online social support and physical social support could significantly affect the health outcomes and the quality of life of the participants. The quasi-experiment method was used to investigate the outcomes of a 10-week physician-supervised weight loss program. In total, 53 volunteers participated in the study; and their health outcomes were measured in terms of changes in their weight, body mass index and quality of life. The results partially support the hypotheses and show that both types of support work when they are provided separately or simultaneously which significantly improved the participants’ weight and BMI loss and quality of life during the weight loss program. Furthermore, the results proof online social support could be an alternative to physical social support if users live in remote areas or have difficulty participating in the physical activities of a weight loss program. But the differences of both types of support provided simultaneously compare to both types of support provided separately were not significant.
Chen, Jei-Fuu; Wu, Ling-Ling; Chou, Seng-Cho; and Chang, Chih-Hung, "ONLINE SOCIAL SUPPORT FOR WEIGHT CONTROL AND IMPROVED QUALITY OF LIFE" (2014). PACIS 2014 Proceedings. 222.