Evaluating the Feasibility, Acceptability, and Effects of Deposit Contracts With and Without Daily Feedback to Promote Physical Activity

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: Despite interest in financial incentive programs, evidence regarding the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of deposit contracts (ie, use of participants’ own money as a financial reward) for increasing physical activity (PA) is limited. Furthermore, evidence regarding the use of feedback within incentive programs is limited. Purpose: To evaluate: (1) the feasibility and acceptability of deposit contracts for increasing objectively measured PA and (2) the effects of deposit contracts with or without ongoing feedback on PA. Methods: Participants (n = 24) were exposed to 3 conditions (1) self-monitoring, (2) incentive, and (3) incentive with feedback in an ABACABAC design, with the order of incentive conditions counterbalanced across participants. Results: Effect sizes suggest that individuals had a modest increase in PA during the incentive conditions compared with self-monitoring. Presentation order moderated results, such that individuals exposed to incentives with feedback first performed more poorly across both incentive conditions. In addition, individuals often cited the deposit contract as a reason for not enrolling, and those who did participate reported inadequate acceptability of the incentives and feedback. Conclusions: Results suggest that while deposit contracts may engender modest increases in PA, this type of incentive may not be feasible or acceptable for promoting PA.

Kerrigan is with the Program for Obesity, Weight, and Eating Research, Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Forman, Zhang, and Butryn are with the Department of Psychology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. Forman and Butryn are also with WELL Center, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. Patel is with the Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; the Department of Health Care Management, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; and Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Williams is with the Departments of Behavioral & Social Sciences and Psychiatry & Human Behavior, Brown School of Public Health, Providence, RI. Crosby is with the Sanford Center for Bio-Behavioral Research, Fargo, ND; and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of North Dakota, Fargo, ND.

Kerrigan (stephanie.kerrigan@yale.edu) is corresponding author.
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