Facebook usage, participation patterns, and social support from Facebook activity among smokers with mobility impairments

Belinda Borrelli, Romano Endrighi, Lisa M. Quintiliani, Rosemary B. Hughes, Sherry Pagoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


People with mobility impairments (MIs; use assistive devices to ambulate) have twice the smoking prevalence versus the general population. A Facebook intervention could improve reach to smokers with MIs, but use and patterns of use are unknown. The study examined: (a) Facebook use and relationship with Facebook-based social support and (b) whether Facebook use differs by motivation to quit smoking. Participants (N = 510; 56.3% female, mean age = 42.4 years) were recruited via a recruitment company to complete a one-time online survey assessing motivation to quit within 30 days, Facebook use (Facebook Activities Scale), reasons for use (Facebook Motives Scale), attitudes (Facebook Intensity Scale), and social support (Facebook Measure of Social Support). The vast majority said that Facebook is part of their daily routine (92.9%), 83% checked Facebook >once a day, and 69% spent >30 min/day on Facebook. Facebook was used to connect with similar others (68.4%), participate in groups (72.9%), decrease loneliness (69.2%), and obtain health information (62.5%); 88% said that they would join a Facebook program to help them quit smoking. A greater number of Facebook friends (rs =. 18-.22, p <. 001) and greater Facebook use (rs =. 20 to rs =. 59; p <. 001) were correlated with greater perceived social and emotional support. Those motivated to quit posted more frequently (odds ratio [OR] = 1.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.10, 2.22) and were more likely to indicate that they would join a Facebook group for smoking cessation (OR = 4.15, 95% CI = 2.05, 8.38) than those not motivated. Facebook could circumvent disability and environmental barriers to accessing cessation among this health disparity population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)882-890
Number of pages9
JournalTranslational Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Disability
  • Facebook
  • Smoking
  • Smoking cessation
  • Social media
  • Social support


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