• Caught in a ‘spiral’. Barriers to healthy eating and dietary health promotion needs from the perspective of unemployed young people and their service providers

      Davison, J.; Share, M.; Hennessy, M.; Stewart-Knox, Barbara (2015)
      The number of young people in Europe who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) is increasing. Given that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds tend to have diets of poor nutritional quality, this exploratory study sought to understand barriers and facilitators to healthy eating and dietary health promotion needs of unemployed young people aged 16–20 years. Three focus group discussions were held with young people (n = 14). Six individual interviews and one paired interview with service providers (n = 7). Data were recorded, transcribed verbatim and thematically content analysed. Themes were then fitted to social cognitive theory (SCT). Despite understanding of the principles of healthy eating, a ‘spiral’ of interrelated social, economic and associated psychological problems was perceived to render food and health of little value and low priority for the young people. The story related by the young people and corroborated by the service providers was of a lack of personal and vicarious experience with food. The proliferation and proximity of fast food outlets and the high perceived cost of ‘healthy’ compared to ‘junk’ food rendered the young people low in self-efficacy and perceived control to make healthier food choices. Agency was instead expressed through consumption of junk food and drugs. Both the young people and service providers agreed that for dietary health promotion efforts to succeed, social problems needed to be addressed and agency encouraged through (individual and collective) active engagement of the young people themselves.
    • Older adults perceptions of technology and barriers to interacting with tablet computers: a focus group study

      Vaportzis, Ria; Clausen, M.G.; Gow, A.J. (2017-10-04)
      Background: New technologies provide opportunities for the delivery of broad, flexible interventions with older adults. Focus groups were conducted to: (1) understand older adults’ familiarity with, and barriers to, interacting with new technologies and tablets; and (2) utilize user-engagement in refining an intervention protocol. Methods: Eighteen older adults (65–76 years old; 83.3%female) who were novice tablet users participated in discussions about their perceptions of and barriers to interacting with tablets. We conducted three separate focus groups and used a generic qualitative design applying thematic analysis to analyse the data. The focus groups explored attitudes toward tablets and technology in general. We also explored the perceived advantages and disadvantages of using tablets, familiarity with, and barriers to interacting with tablets. In two of the focus groups, participants had previous computing experience (e.g., desktop), while in the other, participants had no previous computing experience. None of the participants had any previous experience with tablet computers. Results: The themes that emerged were related to barriers (i.e., lack of instructions and guidance, lack of knowledge and confidence, health-related barriers, cost); disadvantages and concerns (i.e., too much and too complex technology, feelings of inadequacy, and comparison with younger generations, lack of social interaction and communication, negative features of tablets); advantages (i.e., positive features of tablets, accessing information, willingness to adopt technology); and skepticism about using tablets and technology in general. After brief exposure to tablets, participants emphasized the likelihood of using a tablet in the future. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that most of our participants were eager to adopt new technology and willing to learn using a tablet. However, they voiced apprehension about lack of, or lack of clarity in, instructions and support. Understanding older adults’ perceptions of technology is important to assist with introducing it to this population and maximize the potential of technology to facilitate independent living.