Working Together in a PhamilySpace: Facilitating Collaboration on Healthy Behaviors over Distance

Jomara Sandbulte, Chun Hua Tsai, John M. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Studies have shown that interpersonal relationships such as families and friends are an important source of support and encouragement to those who seek to engage in healthier habits. However, challenges related to geographic distance may hinder those relationships from fully collaborating and engaging in healthy living together. To explore this domain, we developed and deployed a lightweight photo-based application called PhamilySpace with a week-long intervention. Our goal is to examine family members' and friends' engagement and awareness on healthy behaviors while living apart. Our analysis of the semi-structured interviews, pre/post-intervention instruments, and application logs suggests three main benefits of interventions for health promotion in this context: (1) increased awareness on acts of health; (2) reciprocal sharing of health information supports social accountability over distance; and (3) positive dialogue around health enhances support on healthy living. By providing insights into distributed family/friends interactions and experiences with the application, we identify benefits, challenges, and opportunities for future design interventions that promote healthy behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number124
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW1
StatePublished - Apr 22 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful feedback on earlier versions of the paper. We also would like to thank the participants for making this study possible. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Smart and Connected Health Award No. 1502176. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 ACM.


  • awareness
  • collaboration
  • engagement
  • family
  • field study
  • friends
  • geographic distance
  • healthy living
  • social support


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