Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Health Science Honours


School of Medical and Health Sciences

First Supervisor

Dr Leesa Costello

Second Supervisor

Dr Julie Dare


Chronic conditions are now the leading contributors to the burden of disease and associated healthcare expenditure in Australia. Wholefood plant-based diets are an evidence-based approach to the prevention, management and even reversal of many types of chronic disease. However, numerous practical, cognitive, social and intrapersonal barriers inhibit the ‘mainstreaming’ of plant-based diets (PBDs). Online communities may provide the informational, emotional and social support to help members overcome these barriers. However, there is a paucity of research on both the support needs of people attempting to follow PBDs in Australia, and the role that online community membership plays in providing this support. Using Karl Lewin’s three-step behaviour change model (1947/1997) as the framework for analysis, this study employed netnographic techniques to explore the barriers to, and enablers of, adoption and maintenance of a PBD in Australia, as experienced by a sample of people following this diet who are members of the Whole Food Plant-Based Aussies Facebook group. Membership of this online community was found to play a significant role in facilitating dietary adoption and adherence through provision of multiple forms of social support.


Thesis Location