Mind the digital divide: How to reduce social inequalities in digital health promotion?

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Deprived populations and minorities may benefit less from digital interventions than people with higher socioeconomic status. What can health psychologists and public health researchers do to understand and tackle this digital divide?

Objectives: This roundtable seeks to (1) present the current evidence on social inequality in digital health promotion, (2) identify reasons for this digital divide, including potential psychological mechanisms, and (3) discuss how to move forward to solve this issue, both in terms of a research agenda and practical solutions. Ultimately, this roundtable aims to raise awareness of social inequality in digital health promotion and stimulate further research and practical action.

Rationale: In the last decade, there has been an acceleration towards digital solutions and respective policy for health promotion and healthcare, and an exponential rise in digital intervention research. This development has been further promoted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which required healthcare providers to seek digital solutions for continued care. Technology is often presented as a solution to overcome geographical barriers and improve access to healthcare to underserved communities. However, evidence supporting these claims is sparse; in fact, research suggests that digital interventions may be less frequently used by and less effective in deprived populations.

Summary: Convenors Laura König and Max Western will open the session with a brief introduction. Afterwards, two presentations regarding the effectiveness of digital interventions for physical activity promotion (Max Western) and the uptake of, engagement with, and effectiveness of mobile interventions for weight-related behaviours (Eline Smit) will set the scene on current research. We will then hear from Efrat Neter, who will talk about their work on digital health literacy (the ‘second digital divide’) as a potential intervention target, and Falko Sniehotta, who will present a case study. The presentations will be followed by a panel discussion exploring the underlying mechanisms of the digital divide. Building on this, the second part of this session will focus on small group discussions in which the attendees will discuss avenues for future research and action-oriented solutions for research and practice with the panellists. We aim to summarize the results of this exercise in a white paper to stimulate further discussion, research, and the development and implementation of the solutions in practice in the broader health psychology and public health community.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event36th Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society: Charting New Territories in Health Psychology - Crowne Plaza hotel, Bratislava, Slovakia
Duration: 23 Aug 202227 Aug 2022
https://2022.ehps.net/

Conference

Conference36th Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society
Country/TerritorySlovakia
CityBratislava
Period23/08/2227/08/22
Internet address

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