. Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) involves repeated measurement of participant behaviors, contexts, beliefs, attitudes, emotional states, perceptions, and experiences in real time, naturalistic settings, 10 often through the use of mobile technology (eg, smartphones). The use of EMA in health behavior
Katie Weatherson, Lira Yun, Kelly Wunderlich, Eli Puterman, and Guy Faulkner
Diane K. Ehlers, Jennifer Huberty, Matthew Buman, Steven Hooker, Michael Todd, and Gert-Jan de Vreede
Commercially available mobile and Internet technologies present a promising opportunity to feasibly conduct ecological momentary assessment (EMA). The purpose of this study was to describe a novel EMA protocol administered on middle-aged women’s smartphones via text messaging and mobile Internet.
Women (N = 9; mean age = 46.2 ± 8.2 y) received 35 text message prompts to a mobile survey assessing activity, self-worth, and self-efficacy over 14 days. Prompts were scheduled and surveys were administered using commercial, Internet-based programs. Prompting was tailored to each woman’s daily wake/sleep schedule. Women concurrently wore a wrist-worn accelerometer. Feasibility was assessed via survey completion, accelerometer wear, participant feedback, and researcher notes.
Of 315 prompted surveys, 287 responses were valid (91.1%). Average completion time was 1.52 ± 1.03 minutes. One participant’s activity data were excluded due to accelerometer malfunction, resulting in complete data from 8 participants (n = 252 [80.0%] valid observations). Women reported the survey was easily and quickly read/completed. However, most thought the accelerometer was inconvenient.
High completion rates and perceived usability suggest capitalizing on widely available technology and tailoring prompting schedules may optimize EMA in middle-aged women. However, researchers may need to carefully select objective monitors to maintain data validity while limiting participant burden.
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.
David M. Williams, Shira Dunsiger, Jessica A. Emerson, Chad J. Gwaltney, Peter M. Monti, and Robert Miranda Jr.
Affective response to exercise may mediate the effects of self-paced exercise on exercise adherence. Fiftynine low-active (exercise <60 min/week), overweight (body mass index: 25.0–39.9) adults (ages 18–65) were randomly assigned to self-paced (but not to exceed 76% maximum heart rate) or prescribed moderate intensity exercise (64–76% maximum heart rate) in the context of otherwise identical 6-month print-based exercise promotion programs. Frequency and duration of exercise sessions and affective responses (good/bad) to exercise were assessed via ecological momentary assessment throughout the 6-month program. A regression-based mediation model was used to estimate (a) effects of experimental condition on affective response to exercise (path a = 0.20, SE = 0.28, f 2 = 0.02); (b) effects of affective response on duration/latency of the next exercise session (path b = 0.47, SE = 0.25, f 2 = 0.04); and (c) indirect effects of experimental condition on exercise outcomes via affective response (path ab = 0.11, SE = 0.06, f 2 = 0.10). Results provide modest preliminary support for a mediational pathway linking self-paced exercise, affective response, and exercise adherence.
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.
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
collection strategies, such as ecological momentary assessments (EMA) and activity trackers (e.g., accelerometers; Fisher, 2008 ; Haskell, 2012 ), the findings point to the importance of within-person variability. Essentially, one’s feeling states (e.g., mood or affect) fluctuate over time, and this
Martina Kanning and Wolfgang Schlicht
The positive effects of physical activity on mood are well documented in cross-sectional studies. To date there have been only a few studies analyzing within-subject covariance between physical activity and mood in everyday life. This study aims to close this gap using an ambulatory assessment of mood and physical activity. Thirteen participants completed a standardized diary over a 10-week period, resulting in 1,860 measurement points. Valence, energetic arousal, and calmness are the three subscales of mood that were assessed. Participants rated their mood promptly after self-selected activities. A multilevel analysis indicates that the three dimensions of mood were positively affected by episodes of physical activity, such as walking or gardening—valence: t(12) = 5.6, p < .001; energetic arousal: t(12) = 2.4, p = .033; calmness: t(12) = 2.8, p = .015. Moreover, the association is affected by the individual baseline mood level, with the greatest effect seen when mood is depressed.
Karen E. Hancock, Paul Downward, and Lauren B. Sherar
, 2013 ). A more accurate method of capturing behavior, feelings, and contexts simultaneously is via prompted, frequent, real-time self-reports known as ecological momentary assessments (EMA; Shiffman, Stone, & Hufford, 2008 ). A study using smartphone-delivered EMA over 30 days in a small sample ( n
Lennart Raudsepp and Kristi Vink
the questionnaires. Similar data collections procedures were followed at time 2 and time 3 waves. Measurements Sedentary Behavior The current study employed a self-report ecological momentary assessment (EMA) procedure outlined by Biddle et al 26 for capturing sedentary behavior. EMA is a method of