Feasibility of recruiting peer educators for an online social networking-based health intervention.

Research paper by Sean D SD Young, Lauren L Harrell, Devan D Jaganath, Adam Carl AC Cohen, Steve S Shoptaw

Indexed on: 01 May '13Published on: 01 May '13Published in: Health education journal


This study aims to determine the feasibility of recruiting peer leaders to deliver a community-based health intervention using social media.We recruited sixteen African American and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) as peer leaders for either an HIV prevention or general health intervention using social media. Inclusion criteria required that peer leaders were African American or Latino MSM health communication experts experienced using social media. To receive certification, peer leaders attended 3 training sessions on using social media for public health. Questionnaires asking about health knowledge and comfort using social media to discuss health-related topics were provided at baseline and post-training to ensure that peer leaders were qualified post-training. Repeated measures ANOVA models and χ(2) tests tested for differences in peer leader knowledge and comfort using social media pre- and post-training.After training, peer leaders were significantly more comfortable using social media to discuss sexual positions. There were no significant differences pre- and post-training on other comfort or knowledge measures, as at baseline, almost all peer leaders were already comfortable using social media.Results suggest that peer leaders can be recruited who are qualified to conduct health interventions without needing additional training. The discussed training plan can further ensure that any unqualified peer leaders will be prepared after training. To our knowledge, this is the first study to suggest that peer leaders can be recruited as peer health educators to communicate using social media.