Background: Blended face-to-face and web-based treatment is a promising way to deliver smoking cessation treatment. Since adherence has been shown to be an indicator of treatment acceptability and a determinant for effectiveness, we explored and compared adherence and predictors of adherence to blended and face-to-face alone smoking cessation treatments with similar content and intensity.
Objective: The objectives of this study were (1) to compare adherence to a blended smoking cessation treatment with adherence to a face-to-face treatment; (2) to compare adherence within the blended treatment to its face-to-face mode and web mode; and (3) to determine baseline predictors of adherence to both treatments as well as (4) the predictors to both modes of the blended treatment.
Methods: We calculated the total duration of treatment exposure for patients (N=292) of a Dutch outpatient smoking cessation clinic who were randomly assigned either to the blended smoking cessation treatment (n=130) or to a face-to-face treatment with identical components (n=162). For both treatments (blended and face-to-face) and for the two modes of delivery within the blended treatment (face-to-face vs web mode), adherence levels (ie, treatment time) were compared and the predictors of adherence were identified within 33 demographic, smoking-related, and health-related patient characteristics.
Results: We found no significant difference in adherence between the blended and the face-to-face treatments. Participants in the blended treatment group spent an average of 246 minutes in treatment (median 106.7% of intended treatment time, IQR 150%-355%) and participants in the face-to-face group spent 238 minutes (median 103.3% of intended treatment time, IQR 150%-330%). Within the blended group, adherence to the face-to-face mode was twice as high as that to the web mode. Participants in the blended group spent an average of 198 minutes (SD 120) in face-to-face mode (152% of the intended treatment time) and 75 minutes (SD 53) in web mode (75% of the intended treatment time). Higher age was the only characteristic consistently found to uniquely predict higher adherence in both the blended and face-to-face groups. For the face-to-face group, more social support for smoking cessation was also predictive of higher adherence. The variability in adherence explained by these predictors was rather low (blended R-2 =0.049; face-to-face R-2 =0.076). Within the blended group, living without children predicted higher adherence to the face-to-face mode (R-2 =0.034), independent of age. Higher adherence to the web mode of the blended treatment was predicted by a combination of an extrinsic motivation to quit, a less negative attitude toward quitting, and less health complaints (R-2 =0.164).
Conclusions: This study represents one of the first attempts to thoroughly compare adherence and predictors of adherence of a blended smoking cessation treatment to an equivalent face-to-face treatment. Interestingly, although the overall adherence to both treatments appeared to be high, adherence within the blended treatment was much higher for the face-to-face mode than for the web mode. This supports the idea that in blended treatment, one mode of delivery can compensate for the weaknesses of the other. Higher age was found to be a common predictor of adherence to the treatments. The low variance in adherence predicted by the characteristics examined in this study suggests that other variables such as provider-related health system factors and time-varying patient characteristics should be explored in future research.