Feasibility of Using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) With Diverse Urban Adults: Before and After Data on Perceived Acceptability, Barriers, and Ease of Use

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Global positioning systems (GPS) have emerged as a research tool to better understand environmental influences on physical activity. This study examined the feasibility of using GPS in terms of perceived acceptability, barriers, and ease of use in a racially/ethnically diverse sample of lower socioeconomic position (SEP).


Data were from 2 pilot studies involving a total of 170 African American, Hispanic, and White urban adults with a mean (standard deviation) age of 47.8 (±13.1) years. Participants wore a GPS for up to 7 days. They answered questions about GPS acceptability, barriers (wear-related concerns), and ease of use before and after wearing the GPS.


We found high ratings of GPS acceptability and ease of use and low levels of wear-related concerns, which were maintained after data collection. While most were comfortable with their movements being tracked, older participants (P < .05) and African Americans (P < .05) reported lower comfort levels. Participants who were younger, with higher education, and low incomes were more likely to indicate that the GPS made the study more interesting (P < .05). Participants described technical and wear-related problems, but few concerns related to safety, loss, or appearance.


Use of GPS was feasible in this racially/ethnically diverse, lower SEP sample.

Zenk is with the College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago. Schulz and Gamboa are with the Dept of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Odoms-Young is with the Dept of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago. Wilbur is with the College of Nursing, Rush University, Chicago, IL. Matthews is with the Dept of Sociology, Anthropology, and Demography, Penn State University, University Park, PA. Wegrzyn is with Harvard University. Hobson is with the University of Illinois at Chicago. Stokes is with the University of Detroit Mercy.