Wearables have the potential to optimize health-related behaviors like physical activity and nutritional intake and to improve individual health outcomes. However, researchers are still doubtful about wearables’ capacity to induce behavior change in users. Research that has built on self-efficacy theory has shown that using wearables can influence the users’ perceptions of self-efficacy and behavioral responses both positively and negatively, indicating that there is little stability over time. This study will investigate the factors that cause instability in users’ situational perceptions of self-efficacy and behavioral reactions. We plan to conduct a longitudinal, quasi-experimental field study with wearable users who self-report in weekly intervals on action-related restrictiveness, contextual restrictiveness, personal restrictiveness, situational self-efficacy, and their behavioral responses over eight weeks. Preliminary results from a pilot study with a reduced sample showed promising results. We will contribute to self-efficacy research by clarifying the factors that cause variations in behavioral responses and finding quantitative support for a situationally varying construct of self-efficacy. We will contribute to practice by deriving implications for the design of wearable devices.
Annamina Rieder, Marcel Rhyn