Online Program

Assessing the readiness of health education specialists to use social media: The development of the Social Media Competency Inventory

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Julia Alber, PhD, MPH, Center for Health Behavior Research, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Jay M. Bernhardt, PhD, MPH, Center for Health Communication, University of Texas, Austin, TX
Michael Stellefson, Ph.D., University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Robert M. Weiler, PhD, MPH, Department of Global and Community Health, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Charkarra Anderson-Lewis, PhD MPH, Department of Health Education & Behavior, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Jann MacInnes, PhD, Research Methods and Evaluation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
David Miller, PhD, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Social media can be used to promote healthy behaviors, facilitate engagement, and reach broad audiences. While there are generally accepted guidelines and trainings for the use of social media for health promotion, there are currently no standardized measures to assess social media competency among health education specialists. The purpose of this study was to develop the Social Media Competency Inventory (SMCI) to provide a method for measuring the readiness of health education specialists to utilized social media for health education research and practice. Using competency modeling literature and theoretical constructs from the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology and the Integrated Behavioral Model, a measurement model was created. The instrument development  included measurement and content expert reviews, think aloud sessions with a convenience sample of Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) (n=10), and field testing of the new instrument among a random sample of CHES and Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) (n=353). Responses were analyzed using classical test and Rasch psychometric measurement procedures. The final SMCI includes four main areas: (1) social media self-efficacy, (2) social media experience, (3) social media affective outcomes, and (4) demographic and organizational information.  Internal consistency ranged from 0.66 to 0.98 across the scales. The new SMCI can be used within organizational and institutional needs assessments to identify the demand for social media training and educational programs for health education specialists. Additionally, data from the SMCI can help drive policy initiatives related to appropriate use of social media in public health.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
List two intended purposes of the Social Media Competency Inventory. Define the six constructs that can be used to measure social media competency of health education specialists. Describe the instrument development procedure for assessing social media competencies of health education specialists.

Keyword(s): Social Media, Workforce Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have presented and published on the topic of social media for health education research and practice. Additionally, I have served as a research assistant for funded research projects involving the use of technology in health education research. Finally, I have taken graduate level courses on social media in health and measurement development.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.