The UCLA HOPE Study: What Participants Can Expect

The following Q&A is for the UCLA Social Network Health Study.

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What can you tell me about the participants who have already signed up for the UCLA HOPE Study?

The people who have signed up for the study are a diverse group of young Latino and Black men who are social media savvy and active in the L.A. community. They are excited to join an online discussion about health and eager to meet other men with similar interests.

What opportunities exist for participants to network with other people enrolled in the study? Do you envision opportunities for communication to extend beyond the duration of the study?

The intention of this private Facebook community is to create a safe place for our participants to have an open conversation about health activities. This is also a very organic way of meeting people with similar interests. It’s possible that participants will connect strongly with each other and want to continue networking beyond the study. We encourage participants to discuss mutual interests and have beneficial interactions. The Facebook group created for the purpose of the study will be kept active indefinitely, beyond the 12-week study period, and it is up to the participants to decide how much time they spend in the group. The door will always be open.

What do you think that UCLA might be able to learn from the study? What contribution to science are participants helping to make?

Previous studies have shown that community-based models are effective at improving health outcomes. People are generally comfortable exchanging ideas, sharing knowledge, and discussing concerns with their peers in an online forum. UCLA wants to apply this real-life model to platforms such as Facebook that reach millions of people around the world. We want to see if it is possible for people to learn from each other and make lifestyle choices that positively impact their health as a result of participating in these online groups. As a participant in this study, you will be the key to answering a very important question: can Facebook, and similar social networking platforms, potentially be used as a tool to promote health?

Tell me about your dream participant.

My dream participant is energetic and responsive! He does not shy away from asking questions and speaks up whenever he has a concern about being a participant. He understands the significance of the study and approaches it with an open mind. Finally, he is excited to have an active dialogue with his peers in the Facebook group during the 12-week period (and beyond, if he chooses). So far, all of the participants who have signed up for the study fit this description and I am thrilled to have them on board!

To join the UCLA Social Network Health study, please click here.

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