Uptake of proactively offered online and telephone support services targeting multiple health risk behaviors among vocational education students: Process evaluation of a cluster randomized controlled trial

Prince Atorkey, Christine Paul, Billie Bonevski, John Wiggers, Aimee Mitchell, Emma Byrnes, Christophe Lecathelinais, Flora Tzelepis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: A high proportion of vocational education students smoke tobacco, have inadequate nutrition (ie, low fruit and vegetable intake), drink alcohol at risky levels, or are physically inactive. The extent to which vocational education students will sign up for proactively offered online and telephone support services for multiple health risk behaviors is unknown. Objective: The aim of this study is to examine the uptake of proactively offered online and telephone support services for smoking, nutrition, alcohol consumption, and physical activity risk behaviors, individually and in combination, among vocational education students in the Technical and Further Education (TAFE) setting. The characteristics associated with the uptake of online or telephone services for smoking, nutrition, alcohol consumption, and physical activity risk behaviors were also examined. Methods: Vocational education students enrolled in a TAFE class in New South Wales, Australia, which ran for 6 months or more, were recruited to participate in a cluster randomized controlled trial from May 2018 to May 2019. In the intervention arm, participants who did not meet the Australian health guidelines for each of the smoking, nutrition, alcohol consumption, and physical activity risk behaviors were provided electronic feedback and proactively offered online and telephone support services. Uptake of support was measured by whether participants signed up for the online and telephone services they were offered. Results: Vocational education students (N=551; mean age 25.7 years, SD 11.1; 310/551, 56.3% male) were recruited into the intervention arm. Uptake of the proactive offer of either online or telephone services was 14.5% (59/406) for fruit and vegetables, 12.7% (29/228) for physical activity, 6.8% (13/191) for smoking, and 5.5% (18/327) for alcohol use. Uptake of any online or telephone service for at least two health behaviors was 5.8% (22/377). Participants who were employed (odds ratio [OR] 0.10, 95% CI 0.01-0.72) and reported not being anxious (OR 0.11, 95% CI 0.02-0.71) had smaller odds of signing up for online or telephone services for smoking, whereas participants who reported not being depressed had greater odds (OR 10.25, 95% CI 1.30-80.67). Participants who intended to change their physical activity in the next 30 days had greater odds (OR 4.01, 95% CI 1.33-12.07) of signing up for online or telephone services for physical activity. Employed participants had smaller odds (OR 0.18, 95% CI 0.06-0.56) of signing up for support services for at least two behaviors. Conclusions: Although the uptake of proactively offered online and telephone support services is low, these rates appear to be higher than the self-initiated use of some of these services in the general population. Scaling up the proactive offer of online and telephone services may produce beneficial health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere19737
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Multiple health risk behaviors
  • Online support services
  • Proactive offer
  • Telephone support services
  • Uptake
  • Vocational education students

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