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Special Issue "Social Marketing’s Contribution to Public Health"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2022) | Viewed by 17745

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Taylor J. Willmott
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Griffith University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, QLD, Australia, 4111
Interests: behaviour change; behavioural science; chronic disease; obesity; prevention; health-promotion; human-centered design; social marketing
Prof. Dr. Sameer Deshpande
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Griffith University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, QLD, Australia, 4111
Interests: marketing for a better world; behaviour change; sustainable development goals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The breadth and complexity of problems impacting public health around the world are ever-increasing. For example, out of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), five directly relate to public health: No poverty (Goal 1); zero hunger (Goal 2); good health and well-being (Goal 3); clean water and sanitation (Goal 6); responsible consumption and production (Goal 12). While the 12 remaining SDGs are not directly related to public health, they may be indirectly related, as behaviors do not occur in isolation but instead operate within dynamic, interactive, and ever-changing systems (Domegan et al., 2016). Some public health issues, such as population management, do not appear in any SDG, but rather overlap with multiple goals. Tackling such complex, interrelated, and multifactorial public health challenges necessitates an effective behavioral change approach.

Since its inception, social marketing has been a critical component of the public health toolkit. Social marketing utilizes marketing principles and techniques, combined with other evidence-based approaches, to influence behaviors that benefit individuals and communities for the greater social good (iSMA, ESMA, and AASM, 2013). Despite an increase in uptake and use within the public health community, efforts to synthesize and showcase how social marketing has been effectively applied in public health programs, practices, and policies are lacking (notable exceptions: Cheng et al., 2011; Evans et al., 2016 ). Critiques of social marketing often focus on its capacity to achieve and sustain behavior change, particularly in the absence of supportive environments. Evidence reviews indicate that the complete application of social marketing’s fundamental principles in public health-related interventions, programs, and campaigns remains limited (Carins et al., 2014; Kubacki et al., 2015; Xia et al., 2016; Firestone et al., 2017). Therefore, the incomplete application of social marketing is not only limiting its effectiveness (Carins et al., 2014), but is also contributing to the inconsistent and fragmented evidence base that continues to fuel debates surrounding social marketing’s effectiveness. This Special Issue seeks submissions that showcase social marketing’s contribution to public health in terms of achieving measurable outcomes and impact. In particular, we are interested in:

  • Quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-method case studies of how social marketing has been effectively applied in public health programs, practices, and policies;
  • Lessons learned from both successful and failed attempts at using social marketing in public health programs, practices, and policies;
  • Effectiveness of social marketing to convince mid- and upstream audiences;
  • Differences in the effectiveness of social marketing due to the nature of behavior promoted in a public health initiative;
  • Role of social marketing to deliver social impact, over and above outcomes;
  • Identification or development of evaluation frameworks for measuring the effectiveness of social marketing in public health.
Dr. Taylor J. Willmott
Prof. Dr. Sameer Deshpande
Guest Editors

References:

  1. Carins, J. E., & Rundle-Thiele, S. R. (2014). Eating for the better: A social marketing review (2000–2012). Public Health Nutrition17(7), 1628-1639.
  2. Cheng, H., Kotler, P., & Lee, N. (Eds.). (2011). Social marketing for public health: global trends and success stories. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
  3. Domegan, C., McHugh, P., Devaney, M., Duane, S., Hogan, M., Broome, B. J., ... & Piwowarczyk, J. (2016). Systems-thinking social marketing: conceptual extensions and empirical investigations. Journal of Marketing Management32(11-12), 1123-1144.
  4. Evans, W. D., & Oxford University Press. (2016). Social marketing research for global public health: Methods and technologies. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  5. Firestone, R., Rowe, C. J., Modi, S. N., & Sievers, D. (2017). The effectiveness of social marketing in global health: a systematic review. Health Policy and Planning32(1), 110-124.
  6. iSMA, ESMA, and AASM. (2013). Consensus definition of social marketing. Retrieved from https://www.i-socialmarketing.org/assets/social_marketing_definition.pdf
  7. Kubacki, K., Rundle-Thiele, S., Pang, B., & Buyucek, N. (2015). Minimizing alcohol harm: A systematic social marketing review (2000–2014). Journal of Business Research68(10), 2214-2222.
  8. United Nations. Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from https://sdgs.un.org/goals
  9. Xia, Y., Deshpande, S., & Bonates, T. (2016). Effectiveness of social marketing interventions to promote physical activity among adults: a systematic review. Journal of Physical Activity and Health13(11), 1263-1274.

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • behavior change
  • health promotion
  • social marketing
  • effectiveness
  • evaluation
  • outcomes
  • impact
  • downstream
  • midstream
  • upstream

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Article
Mobile Phone-Based Nutrition Education Targeting Pregnant and Nursing Mothers in Sri Lanka
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 2324; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032324 - 28 Jan 2023
Viewed by 266
Abstract
Introduction: A woman’s nutrition during pregnancy and nursing affects the mother and the growing child. Similarly, the first two years of a child’s life are critical to their growth and development and are facilitated by optimum nutrition. Women’s nutrition-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices [...] Read more.
Introduction: A woman’s nutrition during pregnancy and nursing affects the mother and the growing child. Similarly, the first two years of a child’s life are critical to their growth and development and are facilitated by optimum nutrition. Women’s nutrition-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices influence household food and nutrition security. Mobile health (mHealth) is a potentially effective health intervention in pandemic situations when physical gatherings are restricted. Objectives: To examine the effectiveness of a mobile phone-based nutrition education intervention targeting pregnant and nursing mothers in six Sri Lankan divisional secretariat areas. Method: This intervention was evaluated using a before and after within-subjects design. The intervention included 19 messages over four weeks sent via mobile phone, covering nutrition themes such as pregnancy care, infant and young child-feeding, diet, family care for mother and child, and cash management. The intervention was evaluated based on a quantitative survey using a structured interviewer-administered questionnaire and qualitative interviews using a semi-structured questionnaire. The study population was pregnant and nursing mothers. The objective of the qualitative interviews was to identify how respondents used messages and how satisfied they were with the project. The outcome measures were awareness/knowledge, attitudes, social norms, self-efficacy, behaviour intentions, and practices of pregnant and nursing mothers. Trained enumerators collected data using a mobile phone. Results: A total of 996 pregnant and nursing mothers participated in the pre-assessment survey, of which 720 completed the post-assessment. Most were nursing mothers (84.2% pre- and 78.9% post-assessment). Participants provided positive feedback on the intervention. Knowledge/awareness (t = −18.70, p < 0.01) and attitudes (t = −2.00, p < 0.05) increased when exposed to the intervention. Favourable improvements in the practices were also observed. Mothers’ practices related to breastfeeding and 24-h dietary diversity showed a statistically significant improvement. However, social norms and behaviour intentions did not significantly improve. The qualitative component also revealed favourable responses. Conclusion and Recommendations: The mobile intervention improved participants’ knowledge, awareness, attitude, and practices, but not social norms or behaviour intentions. This approach is recommended to be used on a larger scale in community settings. In addition, mobile technology could drive intervention in pandemic-related situations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Marketing’s Contribution to Public Health)
Article
Healthy Eats—Evaluation of a Social Marketing Program Delivered in Primary School Settings in Queensland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(21), 14415; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192114415 - 03 Nov 2022
Viewed by 566
Abstract
One in four school children in Australia are overweight or obese. In response, the Healthy Eats program was developed, piloted, and delivered using a whole-of-school approach underpinned by the socio-ecological model to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among children aged 8–10 years in [...] Read more.
One in four school children in Australia are overweight or obese. In response, the Healthy Eats program was developed, piloted, and delivered using a whole-of-school approach underpinned by the socio-ecological model to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among children aged 8–10 years in regional Queensland, Australia. This research presents an outcome evaluation of the Healthy Eats program using pre–post data collected throughout 2021 (cross-sectional for knowledge and longitudinal for behaviour) from 19 schools to assess whether changes occurred in students’ nutritional knowledge (n = 1868 (pre = 933, post = 935)) and fruit and vegetable consumption (n = 1042 (pre = 521, post = 521)). Knowledge data was collected via self-reports two weeks prior and immediately after the Nutrition Module. Behavioural data on daily fruit and vegetable consumption was gathered via student passports (i.e., surveys) one week before and for four consecutive weeks after the Nutrition Module. Chi-Square Difference tests and t-Tests were conducted with a significance level set at p < 0.05. Across all 19 schools, knowledge of the daily recommended serves of fruit and vegetables improved significantly following participation in the program, aligning knowledge closer to the Australian dietary guidelines. Behavioural results for fruit consumption were favourable, with clear improvements reported. Increases in vegetable consumption were demonstrated in two of the eight schools. A discussion on the knowledge–action gap is provided, including recommendations for future iterations of the Healthy Eats program. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Marketing’s Contribution to Public Health)
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Article
Understanding Factors to COVID-19 Vaccine Adoption in Gujarat, India
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2707; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052707 - 25 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2215
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed threats to human life across the globe, including India. Vaccinating is an effective means of addressing the pandemic threat. The government of India has implemented a massive vaccination drive to save its citizens from the deadly virus. However, [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed threats to human life across the globe, including India. Vaccinating is an effective means of addressing the pandemic threat. The government of India has implemented a massive vaccination drive to save its citizens from the deadly virus. However, the effort has faced multiple challenges, including vaccine hesitancy. This research understands respondents’ perspectives on factors contributing to the lower vaccination uptake in Gujarat, India. Forty-four semi-structured interviews were conducted through convenience sampling representing different demographic backgrounds. Factors influencing vaccine adoption included religious leadership, political leadership and the government, and fear of side effects, especially among children and those with co-morbidities, resulting primarily from fake news and misinformation circulated through social media. Compared with nine countries from across the world, the study found similarities to vaccine hesitancy from misinformation and the fear of side effects among children. In contrast, the role of government and the influence of religious and political leaders was considered positive. The study recommends strategies to overcome people’s apprehensions about the adoption of vaccination. These include offering incentives, providing positive peer-to-peer communication, recruiting influencers such as religious and community leaders and early adopters such as the elderly population to endorse vaccination, targeting youth through social media, and reaching rural sections by involving NGOs and social service groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Marketing’s Contribution to Public Health)
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Article
Applying Customer Journey Mapping in Social Marketing to Understand Salt-Related Behaviors in Cooking. A Case Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(24), 13262; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182413262 - 16 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2362
Abstract
Worldwide, salt consumption exceeds the World Health Organization’s recommendation of a daily intake of 5 g. Customer journey mapping is a research method used in market research to understand customer behaviors and experiences and could be useful in social marketing as well. This [...] Read more.
Worldwide, salt consumption exceeds the World Health Organization’s recommendation of a daily intake of 5 g. Customer journey mapping is a research method used in market research to understand customer behaviors and experiences and could be useful in social marketing as well. This study aimed to explore the potential of customer journey mapping to better understand salt-related behaviors performed during the preparation of household cooking. We tracked the journey of four women in their kitchens for approximately two hours to observe the preparation of lunch. Individual journey maps were created, one for each woman, that were composited into a single journey map. We found that customer journey mapping was a suitable research method to understand how food preparers made decisions around adding salt and artificial seasonings at each stage of the journey. In contrast to the interviewee’ responses, it was observed that the four women added salt and artificial seasonings consistently and incrementally with little control and without any standard measure. In this study, we demonstrate the utility of customer journey mapping in a novel context and nudge social marketers to include this tool in their repertory of research methods to understand human behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Marketing’s Contribution to Public Health)
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Communication
Self-Efficacy Mediates the Effect of Framing Eating Disorders Prevention Message on Intentions to Have a Sufficient Weight: A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(17), 8980; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18178980 - 26 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1506
Abstract
Background: In the context of social marketing, the effectiveness of prevention messages is a major issue. The main objective of the present study was to assess the effect of prevention messages framing on self-efficacy reinforcement in order to improve intentions to reach or [...] Read more.
Background: In the context of social marketing, the effectiveness of prevention messages is a major issue. The main objective of the present study was to assess the effect of prevention messages framing on self-efficacy reinforcement in order to improve intentions to reach or maintain sufficient weight in a non-clinical sample. It thus focuses on testing the mediating role of self-efficacy. Methods: Two hundred and thirty-three university student women were randomly assigned to one of the two conditions (gain-framed versus loss-framed message). They were exposed to a short persuasive message and surveyed on self-efficacy and intention to maintain sufficient weight. Results: Loss-framed messages elicited higher levels of self-efficacy than gain-framed messages, which led to higher intentions to reach or maintain sufficient weight. This study sheds light on the mediating role of self-efficacy. Conclusions: The results suggest ways to improve the persuasiveness of prevention campaigns, thereby opening up further research avenues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Marketing’s Contribution to Public Health)
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Article
A Social Marketing Intervention to Improve Treatment Adherence in Patients with Type 1 Diabetes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3622; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073622 - 31 Mar 2021
Viewed by 2188
Abstract
This research explores if a social marketing intervention model based on social representations theory and the health belief model can generate changes regarding treatment adherence and improve patient self-efficacy. As a pilot, a test–retest field quasi-experiment was designed to evaluate the intervention model [...] Read more.
This research explores if a social marketing intervention model based on social representations theory and the health belief model can generate changes regarding treatment adherence and improve patient self-efficacy. As a pilot, a test–retest field quasi-experiment was designed to evaluate the intervention model with type 1 diabetes (T1DM) patients of families with 8- to 17-year-old children. The intervention model was designed to clarify misconceptions, increase awareness of the benefits of following doctors’ treatments and improve patients’ self-efficacy. In-depth interviews were carried out to gain a richer understanding of the intervention’s effect. The pilot intervention generated a favourable change in shared misconceptions, individual health beliefs, glycaemic control and declared treatment adherence. This paper contributes to the social marketing literature and public health by providing early support for the theoretical assumptions regarding the role of shared misconceptions in physiological and behavioural outcomes for patients with T1DM. Contrary to previous studies, instead of only focusing on individual beliefs, this study incorporates shared beliefs between patients and caregivers, generating more comprehensive behavioural change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Marketing’s Contribution to Public Health)
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Article
Process Evaluation of the ‘No Money No Time’ Healthy Eating Website Promoted Using Social Marketing Principles. A Case Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3589; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073589 - 30 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2749
Abstract
Background: Reaching and engaging individuals, especially young adults, in web-based prevention programs is challenging. ‘No Money No Time’ (NMNT) is a purpose built, healthy eating website with content and a social marketing strategy designed to reach and engage a young adult (18–34 year [...] Read more.
Background: Reaching and engaging individuals, especially young adults, in web-based prevention programs is challenging. ‘No Money No Time’ (NMNT) is a purpose built, healthy eating website with content and a social marketing strategy designed to reach and engage a young adult (18–34 year olds) target group. The aim of the current study was to conduct a process evaluation of the 12-month social marketing strategy to acquire and engage NMNT users, particularly young adults. Methods: a process evaluation framework for complex interventions was applied to investigate the implementation of the social marketing strategy component, mechanisms of impact and contextual factors. Google Analytics data for the first 12 months of operation (17 July 2019 to 17 July 2020) was evaluated. Results: in year one, 42,413 users from 150+ countries accessed NMNT, with 47.6% aged 18–34 years. The most successful channel for acquiring total users, young adults and return users was via organic search, demonstrating success of our marketing strategies that included a Search Engine Optimisation audit, a content strategy, a backlink strategy and regular promotional activities. For engagement, there was a mean of 4.46 pages viewed per session and mean session duration of 3 min, 35 s. Users clicked a ‘call-to-action’ button to commence the embedded diet quality tool in 25.1% of sessions. The most common device used to access NMNT (63.9%) was smartphone/mobile. Engagement with ‘quick, cheap and healthy recipes’ had the highest page views. Conclusions: findings can inform online nutrition programs, particularly for young adults, and can apply to other digital health programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Marketing’s Contribution to Public Health)
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Review

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Review
A Socio-Cognitive Review of Healthy Eating Programs in Australian Indigenous Communities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(15), 9314; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159314 - 29 Jul 2022
Viewed by 845
Abstract
Purpose: This paper aims to understand the challenges to healthy eating for Indigenous Australians using a Social Cognitive Theory lens. Understanding the environmental, cognitive, and behavioural barriers to healthy eating for Indigenous populations in Australia will help identify current gaps and highlight future [...] Read more.
Purpose: This paper aims to understand the challenges to healthy eating for Indigenous Australians using a Social Cognitive Theory lens. Understanding the environmental, cognitive, and behavioural barriers to healthy eating for Indigenous populations in Australia will help identify current gaps and highlight future actions needed in this area to close the gap for Indigenous Australians. Study design: Narrative review of interventions of healthy eating programs in Australian Indigenous communities sourced using a systematic search protocol to understand the environmental, cognitive, and behavioural barriers to healthy eating among Indigenous Australians and to identify gaps and future actions needed to address this from 2010–2020. Results: The search produced 486 records, after duplicates were removed and the inclusion and exclusion process were utilised, seven interventions were retained in nine studies. The seven interventions had multiple study designs, from randomised control trials to case studies. Conclusions: Further work needs to explore the long-term feasibility of providing fruit and vegetable discounts and the impact of remoteness for the delivery of healthy food. Dietary interventions need to be clearly described, and fidelity and process of the design and implementation process to help with replication of work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Marketing’s Contribution to Public Health)
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Other

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Systematic Review
An Integrative Literature Review of Interventions to Protect People with Disabilities from Domestic and Family Violence
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 2145; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032145 - 25 Jan 2023
Viewed by 477
Abstract
Purpose: While domestic and family violence against people with disabilities is an ongoing and crucial public health concern, and awareness of the extent of violence against people with disabilities is growing, research on the field is still limited. Thus, the present review aims [...] Read more.
Purpose: While domestic and family violence against people with disabilities is an ongoing and crucial public health concern, and awareness of the extent of violence against people with disabilities is growing, research on the field is still limited. Thus, the present review aims to systematically identify and synthesize evidence and effectiveness from intervention strategies to increase the awareness and skills of those with disabilities to reduce and prevent domestic and family violence against them. Method: PRISMA guidelines were followed to perform a systematic search of seven scientific databases to identify the peer-reviewed literature. Results: A total of 17 eligible studies were identified (14 evaluations and 3 descriptive studies), with most taking place in developed countries. Children and women are the most frequent victims, and they were therefore the most common target audience of the included studies. Sexual, physical, and verbal abuse were the most reported types of abuse, while financial abuse and neglect were studied less often. Interventions also focused on a diversity of disabilities, including learning, intellectual, mental, and physical impairments. Overall, the intervention strategies reflected a substantial homogeneity: focus on training and education as well as setting up channels and facilities for victims to seek help. Nine studies yielded significant positive outcomes using various strategies and techniques, while five studies had mixed results, and three studies only reported on the intervention strategies but did not evaluate the results. Conclusions: This review confirms a significant gap in the literature on domestic and family violence against people with disabilities and how to prevent and address the violence through evidence-based interventions. Several recommendations to improve future research and practice are proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Marketing’s Contribution to Public Health)
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Case Report
Improving Well-Being in Young Adults: A Social Marketing Proof-of-Concept
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5248; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095248 - 26 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1397
Abstract
Approximately 1 in 5 Australians experience a mental disorder every year, costing the Australian economy $56.7 billion per year; therefore, prevention and early intervention are urgently needed. This study reports the evaluation results of a social marketing pilot program that aimed to improve [...] Read more.
Approximately 1 in 5 Australians experience a mental disorder every year, costing the Australian economy $56.7 billion per year; therefore, prevention and early intervention are urgently needed. This study reports the evaluation results of a social marketing pilot program that aimed to improve the well-being of young adults. The Elevate Self Growth program aimed to help participants perform various well-being behaviors, including screen time reduction, quality leisure activities, physical activity, physical relaxation, meditation and improved sleep habits. A multi-method evaluation was undertaken to assess Elevate Self Growth for the 19 program participants who paid to participate in the proof-of-concept program. Social Cognitive Theory was used in the program design and guided the evaluation. A descriptive assessment was performed to examine the proof-of-concept program. Considerations were given to participants’ levels of program progress, performance of well-being behaviors, improvements in well-being, and program user experience. Participants who had made progress in the proof-of-concept program indicated improved knowledge, skills, environmental support and well-being in line with intended program outcomes. Program participants recommended improvements to achieve additional progress in the program, which is strongly correlated with outcome changes observed. These improvements are recommended for the proof-of-concept well-being program prior to moving to a full randomized control trial. This paper presents the initial data arising from the first market offerings of a theoretically mapped proof-of-concept and reports insights that suggest promise for approaches that apply Social Cognitive Theory in well-being program design and implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Marketing’s Contribution to Public Health)
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