Socially-driven persuasive health intervention design: Competition, social comparison, and cooperation

Rita Orji, Kiemute Oyibo, Richard K. Lomotey, Fidelia A. Orji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Persuasive technologies are tools for motivating behaviour change using persuasive strategies. socially-driven persuasive technologies employ three common socially-oriented persuasive strategies in many health domains: competition, social comparison, and cooperation. Research has shown the possibilities for socially-driven persuasive interventions to backfire by demotivating behaviour, but we lack knowledge about how the interventions could motivate or demotivate behaviours. To close this gap, we studied 1898 participants, specifically Socially-oriented strategies and their comparative effectiveness in socially-driven persuasive health interventions that motivate healthy behaviour change. The results of a thematic analysis of 278 pages of qualitative data reveal important strengths and weaknesses of the individual socially-oriented strategies that could facilitate or hinder their effectiveness at motivating behaviour change. These include their tendency to simplify behaviours and make them fun, challenge people and make them accountable, give a sense of accomplishment and their tendency to jeopardize user’s privacy and relationships, creates unnecessary tension, and reduce self-confidence and self-esteem, and provoke a health disorder and body shaming, respectively. We contribute to the health informatics community by developing 15 design guidelines for operationalizing the strategies in persuasive health intervention to amplify their strengths and overcome their weaknesses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1451-1484
Number of pages34
JournalHealth informatics journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics


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