Wearables are used to help motivate individuals to trade their unhealthful behaviors for beneficial ones, thereby preventing the diseases of affluence, which are caused by a sedentary lifestyle. However, inconclusive study results regarding the effectiveness of wearables raise questions about the outcomes of using wearables. Research on the topic paints an ambiguous picture regarding the support wearables offer users in performing beneficial health-related behaviors, leaving the underlying mechanisms of wearable use and its outcomes unexplained. We seek to fill this gap in the literature by means of a critical realist study based on thirty narrative interviews with long-term users of wearables. By identifying seven generative mechanisms that drive users’ interactions with wearables and the subsequent cognitive and behavioral outcomes of that use, we answer the research question concerning how and why users’ interactions with wearables can facilitate positive behavioral and cognitive outcomes. The study makes several contributions to theory and practice.
Annamina Rieder, Christiane Lehrer, U. Yeliz Eseryel, Reinhard Jung