The Influence of Fitness-App Usage on Psychological Well-Being and Body Awareness—A Daily Diary Randomized Trial

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Self-tracking via fitness apps is popular and has been described as a means to enhance body awareness and well-being. However, the effects of fitness-app use and specific app functions on well-being and body awareness have yet to be targeted in controlled experimental studies. In two randomized groups, a fitness tracker was used for 6 weeks, and in one group a daily step target was implemented. In a third control group, participants documented their physical activity. A daily diary method was used to measure well-being and body trusting. In Bayesian multilevel analyses, no time, group, or interaction effects were found. These results were robust when controlling for diverse variables. It can be concluded that exercise-related self-tracking and specific step goals do not substantially influence psychological well-being and body trusting. Considering the large variability in effects, potential effects can be assumed under conditions that are to be identified in further studies.

Busch, Utesch, and Strauss are with the Dept. of Sport Psychology, Inst. of Sport and Exercise Sciences, and Bürkner, the Dept. of Statistics and Methods, Inst. of Psychology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.

Busch (lena.busch@uni-muenster.de) is corresponding author.
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