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Open Access Thesis

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Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

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Month Degree Awarded



The Live Well Springfield (LWS) movement is a collaborative effort of partner organizations in Springfield, Massachusetts. The project promotes healthy living by increasing knowledge and awareness of food and physical activity. A key LWS strategy was the creation of a website to function as an information hub. In addition to local event and health information, the website features 16 narratives depicting residents practicing healthy lifestyle choices, designed to encourage community engagement. To date, there has been no evaluation of the website’s reach and effect.

A mixed methods approach, surveys and focus group discussions, was designed to collect data from people who live, work, or attend school in Springfield. Focus group participants were recruited in person at Springfield Community College, via recruitment posters (distributed at STCC), and through email requests from a previously compiled list of residents willing to be contacted. A website evaluation survey was developed using eHealth research constructs and the Expectation-Confirmation Model (ECM). This survey measured users’ perceived quality and satisfaction with the website. The survey was accessible via the homepage, the LWS Facebook page, and emailed directly to potential respondents. The validated eHealth Literacy Scale (eHEALS) was incorporated into the survey and focus group sessions to assess self-reported skills for using eHealth resources.

Each hour-long focus group (n=5 and n=6, respectively) was video/audio recorded and fully transcribed. Focus group transcripts were analyzed to thematically organize responses to narratives and fact-based health messages and assess the appeal, relevance, effectiveness, perceived purpose, and appropriateness. Survey data was analyzed to produce frequencies, descriptive statistics, and correlations.

A mean eHEALS score of 4.22 of 5.00 (SD=0.83) was calculated from 36 responses, suggesting this sample felt very knowledgeable and confident using eHealth resources. Health Literacy Advisor (HLA) software was used to analyze an aggregate of all narratives, resulting in a Fry-based reading grade level of 8.4. On a five-point Likert scale, mean satisfaction with the website was 4.71 (SD=0.53), and mean likelihood to return was 4.76 (SD=0.51).

Content analysis of focus group transcripts resulted in 184 responses coded for one or more themes. The largest proportion of responses (40.2%) related to effectiveness. One third of these effectiveness-related responses were negative toward the fact-based examples. Although the narratives were greatly preferred in both groups, all respondents made comments or agreed with suggestions to have both affective narratives and strictly fact-based health messages accessible, regardless of initial preferences. Results and interpretations will be reported to LWS partners to inform potential revisions of the website revisions and contribute to ongoing activities of the LWS initiative.


First Advisor

Elena T Carbone

Second Advisor

Jerusha Nelson Peterman

Third Advisor

Joseph B Krupczynski