Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2018

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Mass Communications

First Advisor

Dalrymple, Kajsa

First Committee Member

Askelson, Natoshia

Second Committee Member

Eckler, Petya

Third Committee Member

Hedding, Kylah

Fourth Committee Member

Young, Rachel


The purpose of this study was to delve into the factors that might influence someone to adopt a health app and to ultimately adopt a healthy behavior. This research extended the use of diffusion of innovations theory to health-related mobile apps. In knowing more about the way that innovation attributes are used in real-world health app descriptions and in how those descriptions might influence the adoption decisions, not just of the health app but of the related health behavior, we might be able to impact the way that professionals communicate the need for healthy behaviors to people. This study used a content analysis of the top-rated mobile health app product descriptions and user reviews to design experimental stimuli that mirrored real-world app description pages. The experiment manipulated the use of statements of innovation attributes and examined the way participants described their likelihood to adopt an app and the associated healthy behaviors.

The study found that diffusion of innovation attributes did not influence participants’ likelihood to adopt a health app or healthy behaviors, but those participants who reported tracking their own health, physical activity, and diet were more likely to download a health app and to perform the associated healthy behaviors. The study has implications for the qualities health educators or healthcare professionals attempt to educate and persuade people about their health.


Diffusion of Innovations, Health communication, Mobile app


x, 190 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 107-128).


Copyright © 2018 Paige Renee Madsen Chapman