Coping Strategies and Social Support in a Mobile Phone Chat App Designed to Support Smoking Cessation: Qualitative Analysis
Background: Smoking is one of the most significant factors contributing to low life expectancy, health inequalities, and illness at the worldwide scale. Smoking cessation attempts benefit from social support. Mobile phones have changed the way we communicate through the use of freely available message-oriented apps. Mobile app-based interventions for smoking cessation programs can provide interactive, supportive, and individually tailored interventions. Objective: This study aimed to identify emotions, coping strategies, beliefs, values, and cognitive evaluations of smokers who are in the process of quitting, and to analyze online social support provided through the analysis of messages posted to a chat function integrated into a mobile app. Methods: In this descriptive qualitative study, informants were smokers who participated in the chat of Tobbstop. The technique to generate information was documentary through messages collected from September 2014 through June 2016, specifically designed to support a smoking cessation intervention. A thematic content analysis of the messages applied 2 conceptual models: the Lazarus and Folkman model to assess participant's experiences and perceptions and the Cutrona model to evaluate online social support. Results: During the study period, 11,788 text messages were posted to the chat by 101 users. The most frequent messages offered information and emotional support, and all the basic emotions were reported in the chat. The 3 most frequent coping strategies identified were physical activity, different types of treatment such as nicotine replacement, and humor. Beliefs about quitting smoking included the inevitability of weight gain and the notion that not using any type of medications is better for smoking cessation. Health and family were the values more frequently described, followed by freedom. A smoke-free environment was perceived as important to successful smoking cessation. The social support group that was developed with the app offered mainly emotional and informational support. Conclusions: Our analysis suggests that a chat integrated into a mobile app focused on supporting smoking cessation provides a useful tool for smokers who are in the process of quitting, by offering social support and a space to share concerns, information, or strategies.
Qualitative research; Mobile apps; Smoking cessation; Social support
Granado-Font E, Ferré-Grau C, Rey-Reñones C, Pons-Vigués M, Pujol Ribera E, Berenguera A, et al. Coping Strategies and Social Support in a Mobile Phone Chat App Designed to Support Smoking Cessation: Qualitative Analysis. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2018;6(12):e11071.
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