Research

Interpersonal Influences and Technology in Physical Activity Promotion

Overview

When and how do other people influence our physical activity behavior? How can we leverage digital technologies to promote physical activity? In my research, I aim to answer these questions as I examine interpersonal aspects of physical activity and the use of social technologies in the promotion physical activity (e.g., social media).

Guiding Question

Through what motivational processes do other people influence physical activity behavior and how can interventions most effectively impact these motivational processes?

Research interests

Interpersonal influences on PA | Group dynamics | Technology-based PA promotion

Research approach

I employ a “full cycle” research model, which involves laboratory testing of basic assumptions about interpersonal influences on behavior, testing those assumptions in the field, and using such findings to a) generate practices for interpersonal approaches to physical activity promotion and b) generate hypotheses for further research.

Current Projects

Social media and physical activity- We are currently systematically reviewing the existing scientific literature to identify and evaluate the use and effectiveness of social media in physical activity promotion interventions.

Social category diversity and motivation for physical activity- We are currently conducting a laboratory experiment examining the impact of a virtual exercise partner from a different social category (e.g., a rival school) on motivation (measured as duration of physical activity) compared to when exercising alone or with someone from the same social category.

Group dynamics in online physical activity groups- Group cohesion is a key motivational process through which other people influence adherence to exercise. Many groups meet face-to-face, which can create barriers for group members. Can group cohesion be facilitated through an online medium? And will this impact physical activity behavior? We aim to answer these questions in a research project testing an automated, team-building web application.

Inspiration


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