Web-based interventions are a popular and accessible means of promoting behavior change and may be particularly effective among adolescents. However, inconsistent engagement in web-based interventions may undercut their effectiveness. This inconsistency may arise from unclear conceptualizations and operationalizations of engagement across research evaluations. Theoretically, engagement has been described as containing several facets, with one theory conceptualizing engagement as comprised of three dimensions: behavioral, cognitive, and affective engagements. Despite this theoretical conceptualization and growing evidence of the benefits of operationalizing engagement to include these different dimensions, most research evaluations focus only on behavior, or the use of the intervention as prescribed. The current study seeks to clarify what comprises the constructs of affective and cognitive engagement, then assessing the empirical support for the tridimensional theoretical model of engagement among adolescents who participate in a web-based intervention, TakeCARE. We hypothesized the theorized model will be superior to alternative models of engagement. Additionally, we hypothesized a comprehensive conceptualization of engagement would predict outcome variables (bystander efficacy, bystander behavior intentions, and knowledge of sexual consent) above and beyond the predictive efficacy of behavioral engagement alone. A sample of college students (n = 409) completed a baseline assessment, viewed TakeCARE, then completed post-intervention questionnaires. Results from factor analyses indicated mixed support for the theorized model: while a second-order factor model was supported, the affective and cognitive dimensions were each represented best by two factors, as opposed to the theorized single factor each. Structural equation modeling supported the efficacy of the second-order factor model over the behavioral dimension alone. That is, the second-order factor model predicted both bystander efficacy and bystander behavior intentions, while the behavioral dimension alone predicted only bystander behavior intentions. A similar pattern was produced via hierarchical linear regressions for bystander behavior intentions but not bystander efficacy. Findings from this study begin to clarify our understanding of adolescent engagement in web-based intervention and point to the need for more work to clearly delineate what comprises each theorized dimension of engagement.

Degree Date

Summer 8-3-2022

Document Type


Degree Name





Ernest Jouriles, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Austin Baldwin, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Akihito Kamata, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Renee McDonald, Ph.D.

Fifth Advisor

Candace Walkington, Ph.D.

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License