Background: The use of social networking sites to deliver behavioral interventions is becoming more prevalent. The purpose of this review was to systematically evaluate the published research to determine the effectiveness of Facebook-delivered interventions for promoting physical activity behavior change.
Methods: A search of interventions delivered via Facebook (as the primary delivery method or part of a multifaceted intervention) in which physical activity was the primary or secondary outcome resulted in 8 studies for review.
Results: Overall, 87.5% of the Facebook interventions reported some type of significant physical activity behavior change (ie, interactions, main effects for time, differences between conditions); however, only 2 of these interventions found this change to be significantly better for the treatment group than the control group.
Conclusion: Future researchers are encouraged to test the effectiveness of Facebook-delivered physical activity interventions with additional control groups that receive no aspects of the intervention within experimental study designs, more diverse samples, theory-based content with assessment of mediators of behavior change, direct observations of physical activity, and long-term follow-ups. Although based on a small sample of studies, Facebook appears to be a promising delivery method for physical activity interventions.
Keywords: behavioral science; exercise; systematic review/meta-analysis.