Exercise blog believability among emerging adult women: A qualitative description


Emerging adults, aged 18 -30 years, make up the largest demographic of internet users worldwide; this population has a lifelong familiarity with digital technology. Social media is a common source of exercise information and is a preferred source of exercise content among emerging adult women. Believability is a user perception that focuses on how the content of a message is perceived by the consumer. Exercise message believability has been correlated with exercise-related attitudes and intentions though it is not known what aspects of the exercise message may influence a consumer's thoughts. Using a qualitative descriptive design to explore this understudied phenomenon, ten emerging adult women, each of whom had at least some university education, and were residing in a Western Canadian province, were asked to read a post from a popular exercise blog. Qualitative content analysis was used to categorize the data collected from one-on-one interviews. The believability of reading the exercise blog post was represented by three themes: information relevance, selective believability, and projecting believability. The women expressed perceptions of believability about familiar aspects of the content regardless of veracity, specifically in cases when the blog's exercise information was related to personal interests or experiences with the exercise or associated outcome. While exercise blogs may provide an opportunity for individuals to learn about new and diverse personal exercise opportunities, participants expressed clear concern for sensationalized and misleading information presented by the blog post, and in particular how this may affect other women.