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Month: October 2021

STAC-T: Formative Research Results

STAC-T: Formative Research Results

Formative research, such as target population focus groups and usability testing, is essential for the design and development of interactive technology-based programs. Usability testing results of a brief web-based middle school bystander bullying prevention program, STAC-T, were published recently in JMIR Formative Research. The research team was led by Dr. Aida Midgett from Boise State University. Key collaborators included Dr. Diana Doumas from Boise State University and Dr. Valerie Myers, formerly from Klein Buendel.

STAC-T translates four strategies to train bystanders to effectively intervene to reduce bullying into a time- and cost-effective web-based program for middle school students and staff. The four strategies are: “Stealing the show,” “Turning it over,” “Accompanying others,” and “Coaching compassion.”

The main purpose of the formative research was to assess the usability and acceptability of a STAC-T prototype in advance of full-scale development. Other aims included understanding school needs and barriers to program implementation, and assessing differences in usability between middle school staff and students. 

Sixteen participants from three middle schools in rural, low-income communities completed STAC-T usability testing and a qualitative interview. The publication describes the usability testing methods and outcomes of data analyses, including ratings of prototype program satisfaction, acceptability, feasibility, needs, barriers, and recommendations for program adjustments. Overall, school staff and students reported satisfaction with the web-based program. They found it easy to use, acceptable, and feasible. The findings have encouraged the authors to pursue the full-scale development of the STAC-T web-based bullying prevention app for middle schools.

The STAC-T feasibility project was funded by a small business STTR grant to Klein Buendel from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health (MD014943; Dr. Aida Midgett, Principal Investigator). The STAC-T prototype was programmed by Klein Buendel’s Creative Team.



African American men experience significant health disparities across a number of preventable chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, strokes, diabetes, and cancer. Physical activity (PA) is a modifiable risk factor for these conditions. However, the limited number of clinic- or community-based PA promotion studies that have included African American men have resulted in successful short-term behavior change for PA levels. Maintenance of increased PA levels over an extended time period is needed for sustained health benefits.

A research team from Klein Buendel, the Pennington Biomedical Research Center (PBRC), and Georgetown University are launching a new research project to address PA maintenance in African American men with technology. The project is: A Smartphone App to Increase and Maintain Physical Activity in African American Men (FitBrothers). The effort is being led by Dr. Robert Newton from PBRC and is being funded by a Fast-Track STTR grant to Klein Buendel from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (MD014947; Dr. Robert Newton, Principal Investigator).

Dr. Newton’s preliminary focus group data indicates that African American men would be receptive to maintenance strategies delivered via smartphone. For this new project, the team will develop a prototype smartphone app and conduct usability testing to determine design viability and acceptability among would-be users in Phase I. In Phase II, the team will conduct a comparative effectiveness trial to assess success of the app on the PA maintenance levels of participating African American men.

Dr. Newton is an Associate Professor of Physical Activity and Ethnic Minority Health at PBRC. His research collaborators include Dr. Derek Griffith from Georgetown University and Dr. David Buller from Klein Buendel. Dr. Griffith is the Founding Co-Director of the Racial Justice Institute, Founder and Director of the Center for Men’s Health Equity, and Professor of Health Systems Administration and Oncology at Georgetown. Dr. Buller is the Director of Research at Klein Buendel. The FitBrothers app will be engineered by Klein Buendel’s Creative Team.

Mothers and Teenage Daughters: HPV Vaccination Information via Social Media

Mothers and Teenage Daughters: HPV Vaccination Information via Social Media

Dr. David Buller, Klein Buendel’s Director of Research, and his coauthors have published results from the Health Chat Project in the online journal, Frontiers in Digital Health. Health Chat was designed as a social media intervention to reduce mothers’ permissiveness toward their teen daughters’ indoor tanning behavior. It also addressed other adolescent health topics, including human papillomavirus vaccination.

“Parents acquire information about human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines online and encounter vaccine-critical content, especially on social media, which may depress vaccine uptake,” according to the authors. To help address vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, the authors employed a Facebook-delivered adolescent health campaign targeting mothers with posts on HPV vaccination. The study examined the relationship between mothers’ comments and reactions to posts about HPV and any change in their self-reports of having their daughters vaccinated.

The online publication describes the study’s hypotheses, social media health intervention, research methods, results, communication strategies, and limitations. The behavioral research was guided by social cognitive theory, transportation theory, and diffusion of innovations theory. In summary, mothers commented both positively and negatively toward HPV vaccine-related posts. Also, vaccinations rates increased from baseline, through 12-month and 18-month follow-up assessments.

This research was funded by a grant and supplement from the National Cancer Institute (CA192652; Dr. David Buller and Dr. Sherry Pagoto, Multiple Principal Investigators). Collaborating authors include Dr. Katie Baker and Dr. Joel Hillhouse from East Tennessee State University; Dr. Kimberly Henry from Colorado State University; Jessica Bibeau from the University of Connecticut; Kelsey Arroyo from the University of Florida; and Dr. Barbara Walkosz and Julia Berteletti from Klein Buendel.