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Portnoy DB, Scott-Sheldon LA, Johnson BT, et al. Computer-delivered interventions for health promotion and behavioral risk reduction: A meta-analysis of 75 randomized controlled trials, 1988-2007 Prev Med. 2008; 47:3-16.
What is the effect of computer-delivered intervention on individual health and health behaviors?
In 2012, 83% of Canadian households had access to the Internet, making computer delivered interventions a practical tool for promoting healthy behaviors.
Computer-delivered Interventions are interactive and can be customized to an individual’s circumstances. Interactivity and customization have been shown to be beneficial in helping people change their behavior.
This summary is based on a well-done meta-analysis of 75 randomized controlled trials published between 1988 and 2007. There were 35,685 participants, most of whom were adult women.
Interventions included: individual computer sessions alone or combined with electronic peer support or electronic chat rooms. Most were customized for the individual or group. There was a large range in the frequency and duration of sessions.
Computer-delivered interventions were compared with no intervention, standard education only, other brief interventions, or time-matched irrelevant content.
Outcomes considered were: overweight/obesity concerns, substance use, tobacco use, sexual behavior, physical activity, eating disorders, and other health concerns.
Precursors of behavior change
Specific health behaviours
General health behaviours
Computer delivered interventions have a small impact on health knowledge, attitude, and intention as well as select health behaviors but not others.