Centre for Applied Research of the Faculty of Digital Media & Creative Industries

Health empowerment through activity trackers

an empirical smart wristband study


The increasing popularity of activity trackers has shown a remarkable shift in human computer interaction; individuals seem willing to wear a device that constantly tracks health related metrics such as movement, exercise, sleep, and calorie burn. Using the insights derived from their activity trackers, individuals are expected to be more empowered to set and stick to personal health goals.

Whereas the outcome of using activity trackers is of great importance to both individuals and society at large, there are no empirical studies substantiating this presumption. This study aims to contribute to filling this research gap. Making use of self-regulation theory as theoretical framework, we developed a model that proposes six system specific elements (attractiveness, monitoring, feedback, privacy protection, readability, and gamification) as determinants of health empowerment, and thereof health commitment. Using survey data collected from individuals wearing smart wristbands (N = 210), the model was validated. Overall, the results provide strong support for the health empowering capabilities of smart wristbands. The paper concludes with implications for theory and practice, and some suggestions for future research.

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Reference Nelson , E. C., Verhagen, T., & Noordzij, M. L. (2016). Health empowerment through activity trackers: an empirical smart wristband study. Computers in Human Behavior, 62(September), 364–374.

Publication date

Apr 2016


Elizabeth C. Nelson
Matthijs L. Noordzij
Elizabeth C. Nelson
Matthijs L. Noordzij
Matthijs L. Noordzij

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