Background: Physical behavior researchers using motion sensors often use acceleration summaries to visualize, clean, and interpret data. Such output is dependent on device specifications (e.g., dynamic range, sampling rate) and/or are proprietary, which invalidate cross-study comparison of findings when using different devices. This limits flexibility in selecting devices to measure physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep. Purpose: Develop an open-source, universal acceleration summary metric that accounts for discrepancies in raw data among research and consumer devices. Methods: We used signal processing techniques to generate a Monitor-Independent Movement Summary unit (MIMS-unit) optimized to capture normal human motion. Methodological steps included raw signal harmonization to eliminate inter-device variability (e.g., dynamic g-range, sampling rate), bandpass filtering (0.2–5.0 Hz) to eliminate non-human movement, and signal aggregation to reduce data to simplify visualization and summarization. We examined the consistency of MIMS-units using orbital shaker testing on eight accelerometers with varying dynamic range (±2 to ±8 g) and sampling rates (20–100 Hz), and human data (N = 60) from an ActiGraph GT9X. Results: During shaker testing, MIMS-units yielded lower between-device coefficient of variations than proprietary ActiGraph and ENMO acceleration summaries. Unlike the widely used ActiGraph activity counts, MIMS-units were sensitive in detecting subtle wrist movements during sedentary behaviors. Conclusions: Open-source MIMS-units may provide a means to summarize high-resolution raw data in a device-independent manner, thereby increasing standardization of data cleaning and analytical procedures to estimate selected attributes of physical behavior across studies.
Dinesh John, Qu Tang, Fahd Albinali, and Stephen Intille
Trevor A. Pickering, Jimi Huh, Stephen Intille, Yue Liao, Mary Ann Pentz, and Genevieve F. Dunton
Decisions to perform moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) involve behavioral cognitive processes that may differ within individuals depending on the situation.
Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) was used to examine the relationships of momentary behavioral cognitions (ie, self-efficacy, outcome expectancy, intentions) with MVPA (measured by accelerometer). A sample of 116 adults (mean age, 40.3 years; 72.4% female) provided real-time EMA responses via mobile phones across 4 days. Multilevel models were used to test whether momentary behavioral cognitions differed across contexts and were associated with subsequent MVPA. Mixed-effects location scale models were used to examine whether subject-level means and within-subjects variances in behavioral cognitions were associated with average daily MVPA.
Momentary behavioral cognitions differed across contexts for self-efficacy (P = .007) but not for outcome expectancy (P = .53) or intentions (P = .16). Momentary self-efficacy, intentions, and their interaction predicted MVPA within the subsequent 2 hours (Ps < .01). Average daily MVPA was positively associated with within-subjects variance in momentary self-efficacy and intentions for physical activity (Ps < .05).
Although momentary behavioral cognitions are related to subsequent MVPA, adults with higher average MVPA have more variation in physical activity self-efficacy and intentions. Performing MVPA may depend more on how much behavioral cognitions vary across the day than whether they are generally high or low.
Yue Liao, Stephen Intille, Jennifer Wolch, Mary Ann Pentz, and Genevieve Fridlund Dunton
Research on children’s sedentary behavior has relied on recall-based self-report or accelerometer methods, which do not assess the context of such behavior.
This study used ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to determine where and with whom children’s sedentary behavior occurs during their nonschool time.
Children (N = 120) ages 9–13 years (51% male, 33% Hispanic) wore mobile phones that prompted surveys (20 total) for 4 days. Surveys measured current activity (eg, exercise, watching TV), physical location (eg, home, outdoors), and social company (eg, family, friends).
Children engaged in a greater percentage of leisure-oriented (eg, watching TV) than productive (eg, reading, doing homework) sedentary behavior (70% vs 30%, respectively). Most of children’s sedentary activity occurred at home (85%). Children’s sedentary activity took place most often with family members (58%). Differences in physical context of sedentary behavior were found for older vs. younger children (P < .05). Type of sedentary behavior differed by gender, racial/ethnic group, and social context (P < .05).
Children may prefer or have greater opportunities to be sedentary in some contexts than others. Research demonstrates the potential for using EMA to capture real-time information about children’s sedentary behavior during their nonschool time.
Jaclyn P. Maher, Eldin Dzubur, Jimi Huh, Stephen Intille, and Genevieve F. Dunton
This study used time-varying effect modeling to examine time-of-day differences in how behavioral cognitions predict subsequent physical activity (PA). Adults (N = 116) participated in three 4-day “bursts” of ecological momentary assessment (EMA). Participants were prompted with eight EMA questionnaires per day assessing behavioral cognitions (i.e., intentions, self-efficacy, outcome expectations) and wore an accelerometer during waking hours. Subsequent PA was operationalized as accelerometer-derived minutes of moderate- or vigorousintensity PA in the 2 hr following the EMA prompt. On weekdays, intentions positively predicted subsequent PA in the morning (9:25 a.m.–11:45 a.m.) and in the evening (8:15 p.m.–10:00 p.m.). Self-efficacy positively predicted subsequent PA on weekday evenings (7:35 p.m.–10:00 p.m.). Outcome expectations were unrelated to subsequent PA on weekdays. On weekend days, behavior cognitions and subsequent PA were unrelated regardless of time of day. This study identifies windows of opportunity and vulnerability for motivation-based PA interventions aiming to deliver intervention content within the context of adults’ daily lives.
Genevieve F. Dunton, Yue Liao, Stephen Intille, Jennifer Wolch, and Mary Ann Pentz
This study used real-time electronic surveys delivered through mobile phones, known as Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), to determine whether level and experience of leisure-time physical activity differ across children’s physical and social contexts.
Children (N = 121; ages 9 to 13 years; 52% male, 32% Hispanic/Latino) participated in 4 days (Fri.–Mon.) of EMA during nonschool time. Electronic surveys (20 total) assessed primary activity (eg, active play/sports/exercise), physical location (eg, home, outdoors), social context (eg, friends, alone), current mood (positive and negative affect), and enjoyment. Responses were time-matched to the number of steps and minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA; measured by accelerometer) in the 30 minutes before each survey.
Mean steps and MVPA were greater outdoors than at home or at someone else’s house (all P < .05). Steps were greater with multiple categories of company (eg, friends and family together) than with family members only or alone (all P < .05). Enjoyment was greater outdoors than at home or someone else’s house (all P < .05). Negative affect was greater when alone and with family only than friends only (all P < .05).
Results describing the value of outdoor and social settings could inform context-specific interventions in this age group.
Danielle R. Madden, Chun Nok Lam, Brian Redline, Eldin Dzubur, Harmony Rhoades, Stephen S. Intille, Genevieve F. Dunton, and Benjamin Henwood
Adults with serious mental illness engage in limited physical activity, which contributes to significant health disparities. This study explored the use of both ecological momentary assessments (EMAs) and activity trackers in adults with serious mental illness to examine the bidirectional relationship between activity and affect with multilevel modeling. Affective states were assessed up to seven times per day using EMA across 4 days. The participants (n = 20) were equipped with a waist-worn accelerometer to measure moderate to vigorous physical activity. The participants had a mean EMA compliance rate of 88.3%, and over 90% of completed EMAs were matched with 30-min windows of accelerometer wear. The participants who reported more positive affect than others had a higher probability of engaging in moderate to vigorous physical activity. Engaging in more moderate to vigorous physical activity than one’s usual was associated with more negative affect. This study begins to address the effect of momentary mood on physical activity in a population of adults that is typically difficult to reach.