Language of motivation and emotion in an internet support group for smoking cessation: Explorative use of automated content analysis to measure regulatory focus
The present study describes a novel approach to the identification of the motivational processes in text data extracted from an Internet support group (ISG) for smoking cessation. Based on the previous findings that a “prevention” focus might be more relevant for maintaining behavior change, it was hypothesized that 1) language use (ie, the use of emotional words) signaling a “promotion” focus would be dominant in the initiating stages of the ISG, and 2) that the proportion of words signaling a prevention focus would increase over time. The data were collected from the ISG site, spanning 4 years of forum activity. The data were analyzed using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count application. The first hypothesis – of promotion focus dominance in the initiating stages – was not supported during year 1. However, for all the other years measured, the data showed that a prevention failure was more dominant compared with a promotion failure. The results indicate that content analysis could be used to investigate motivational and language-driven processes in ISGs. Understanding the interplay between self-regulation, lifestyle change, and modern communication channels could be of vital importance in providing the public with better health care services and interventions.
CitationPsychology Research and Behavior Management 7(2014) s. 19-29
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