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A love letter to my smartphone : what kind of positive emotions do people experience toward their smartphone and do these correlate with user engagement in mHealth apps? : A mixed-methods study

Böllert, Pauline Sophie (2020) A love letter to my smartphone : what kind of positive emotions do people experience toward their smartphone and do these correlate with user engagement in mHealth apps? : A mixed-methods study.

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Abstract:Background. Smartphones are omnipresent in daily life. Much research has focused on investigating their effects on people’s health, behaviour, and habits. Mobile health (mHealth), one asset of smartphones, becomes increasingly popular and needed in today’s society, making it relevant to investigate how to design mHealth apps in order to make them successful. Low user engagement and dropouts are among the most pressuring issues of mHealth, thus finding ways to support user engagement is essential. As positive emotions, based on Fredrickson’s Broaden and Build Theory build resources, it is assumed that positive emotions toward the smartphone build user engagement in mHealth apps. Resulting, the research question is “What kind of positive emotions do people experience toward their smartphone and do these correlate with user engagement in mHealth apps?”. Methods. This cross-sectional correlational study employs a mixed methods approach by combining qualitative and quantitative research methods. 22 participants, majorly German students, were recruited via the University of Twente Psychology test subject pool (SONA) and via convenience sampling. They were asked to write a love letter to their smartphone to assess their positive emotions. Furthermore, they were instructed to fill in the Twente Engagement with eHealth Technologies Scale (TWEETS) to measure user engagement. The qualitative data was coded de- and inductively, the quantitative data was analysed with correlational analyses. Results. Seven positive emotions were extracted from the love letters, of which “Gratitude”, “Love”, and “Inspiration” were reported most frequently. However, only “Gratitude” was shown to correlate significantly (rs=.69, p-value=.00) with user engagement. Participants referred to their smartphone with three different names indicating that they perceived it to take over a role. Only “Teacher” correlated marginally significant (rs=.53, p-value=.01) with user engagement. Participants frequently mentioned the support their smartphone provides, thus “Support” was used as a third coding category but did not appear to correlate with user engagement. Discussion. Contrasting to what was expected, user engagement appeared to not be associated with positive emotions as such, but only with “Gratitude”. A reason could be that gratitude is linked with happiness and proven to increase motivation and thus appears to be crucial for mHealth development. Furthermore, although “Support” was not shown to correlate with user engagement, it appeared relevant to participants and should thus be kept in mind when creating mHealth applications. Future research should aim to validate results and get deeper understanding of the processes of emotions toward smartphones and their effects. Nevertheless, this research provides novel insights into the emotional side of smartphones and the practical relevance of taking into account emotions and user needs to create successful and effective mHealth applications.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/81922
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