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Perceived persuasiveness towards social support features aimed to stimulate physical activity in the general population : applying the principles of social comparison, recognition, cooperation, and competition

Zobel, V.J. (2021) Perceived persuasiveness towards social support features aimed to stimulate physical activity in the general population : applying the principles of social comparison, recognition, cooperation, and competition.

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Abstract:Physical activity is a crucial part of human’s health. Each year there are up to 5 million deaths due to inactivity (World Health Organization, 2020), thus the need to find ways to motivate people to change their behavior is urgent. Social support has shown to play a crucial part in motivating behavior change. Similarly, technology including applications and smartwatches has the potential to influence and stimulate behavior of individuals when behavior change techniques (BCTs) and Persuasive Systems Design (PSD) are integrated. Hence, combining social support and technology could persuade people to be more physically active. However, it is unclear whether there are differences between users in terms of age and their perception of the features. Therefore, in this study, the perceived persuasiveness of four features of the social support category (social comparison, recognition, cooperation, and competition) as part of the PSD model integrated into an application were compared. Furthermore, differences between age groups were assessed.A cross-sectional online survey design was chosen. Participants were recruited using convenience sampling and snowball sampling. Using storyboards, the principles of social support design principles were displayed, and the participants’ perception of these storyboards was assessed using the Perceived Persuasiveness Questionnaire (PPQ). The PPQ showed excellent reliability (a = .94). Using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test, differences between features were tested. Next, the Mann-Whitney U test was conducted assessing the perceived persuasiveness of the features by different age groups.A sample of N = 134 participants ranging from 18 to 81 years completed the survey. The mean age (sd) was 31 (16) and 72% of the sample were female. Overall, the median (IQR) scores for all of the features were around 4 (1.5) out of 7, which means that the participants neither felt persuaded nor not persuaded. However, there were no significant differences found between the features. Moreover, perceived persuasiveness scores did not differ significantly between the young and old age groups.Concluding, developers of future applications aiming to stimulate physical activity do not need to consider using specific features of the four social support principles. Furthermore, there is no need to distinguish designs for different age groups based on the current study’s results. As a next step future research should adopt a mixed-methods approach including all seven of the social support features demonstrated in a clickable prototype, a perceived persuasiveness questionnaire and an interview with the participants. A mixed-method would result in findings from different perspectives and give more insight into the persuasiveness of the social support features and why they are effective or not. This could be useful in finding a way to persuade people to be more physically active and thus potentially reducing the mortality rate caused by physical inactivity.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/85849
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