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Master's Thesis: How Do Wearables Influence Behavior Change?

Longitudinal study investigating how behavior change support systems (e.g., wearables) influence users’ confidence towards changing their behavior and the subsequent behavioral responses.

Rationale:
With the spreading of sensor-based technologies, behavior change support systems (BCSS), such as wearable activity trackers (WATs), are further gaining ground. BCSS are technologies aiming to induce behavior change with users solely through the use of persuasive elements. BCSS are widespread in the field of health interventions, where they are commonly used to prevent health risks or overcome behaviors with potentially negative impacts on personal health. Consequently, major emphasis lies on offline behaviors that are to be reinforced, altered or newly formed.
From social psychology, we know that the confidence, effort, and perseverance with which individuals pursue a change of behavior are largely depending on the beliefs in their capabilities to perform a certain behavior. Such beliefs are called self-efficacy beliefs or expectations. The self-efficacy theory (Bandura, 1977) is a major behavior change theory, providing insights into cognitive mechanisms and processes. The theory has proven useful in viewing behavior change processes in the context of WATs. Hence, this research aims at describing and explaining the logic along which BCSS influence perceived self-efficacy and ultimately affect users’ behavior change in the context of WATs using a longitudinal design to accurately capture the process-like nature of the issue.

Research Question:
How do BCSS influence users’ self-efficacy beliefs toward the performance of an offline behavior?

Methodology:
A diary study, investigating how BCSS influence perceived self-efficacy and subsequent behavioral responses is to be conducted. For this, the applicant will have to recruit a sample of 10 users of WATs, willing to regularly answer questionnaires regarding their WAT use.

References:
Oinas-Kukkonen, H. (2013). A Foundation for the Study of Behavior Change Support Systems. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 17, 1223–1235.
Bandura, A. (1977). Self-Efficacy: Toward A Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change. Psychological Review 84, 191-215.
Bandura, A. (1982). Self-Efficacy Mechanism in Human Agency. American Psychologist 37(2), 122-147.
Bolger, N., Davis, A., & Rafaeli, E. (2003). Diary Methods: Capturing Life as it is Lived. Annual Review of Psychology 54, 579-616.

Application:
Please send a current CV and grade transcript to annamina.rieder@unisg.ch

Publiziert von annamina.rieder@unisg.ch

Kontakt: Annamina Rieder