Thursday, November 12, 2015

Which behavior change techniques do we value in apps to promote physical activity?

Interventions delivered through new device technology, including mobile phone apps, appear to be an effective method to reach young adults. Previous research indicates that self-efficacy and social support for physical activity and self-regulation behavior change techniques (BCT), such as goal setting, feedback, and self-monitoring, are important for promoting physical activity; however, little is known about how people in the target population themselves value and rate such BCTs applied in physical activity apps.
In a study just published we aimed to explore young adults’ opinions regarding BCTs (including self-regulation techniques) applied in mobile phone physical activity promotion apps, and to examine associations between personality characteristics and these opinions.
We conducted a cross-sectional online survey among 179 healthy 18 to 30-year-old adults.
We  found  that young Dutch physically active adults rate self-regulation techniques as most positive and techniques addressing social support as less positive among mobile phone apps that aim to promote physical activity. Such ratings of BCTs differed according to personality traits and exercise self-efficacy. Future research should focus on which behavior change techniques in app-based interventions are most effective to increase physical activity.