Date of Graduation

7-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Information Systems

Advisor

Fred Davis

Committee Member

Ofir Turel

Second Committee Member

Christina Serrano

Third Committee Member

Elizabeth Howlett

Keywords

Applied sciences; Psychology; Health and environmental sciences; Action planning; Behavior change; Fitness trackers; Health management; Information technology; Self--regulation

Abstract

While it has been well established that regular physical activity is associated with reduced morbidity and mortality attributed to a number of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer, unfortunately, more than 50% of the US adult population fail to meet the national physical activity recommendations (about 30 minutes of brisk walking a day (10,000 steps/day)). Even though people might adopt the goal of being physically active, examples from everyday life show that it is very challenging for people to follow through with their goals, especially when the goals involve a change in their behavior.

Using information technology (IT) to purposefully change user behavior is a key issue for both research and practice, especially in the health domain. To date, behavioral models of IT use have focused primarily on the factors associated with the adoption of a particular system. Yet, our understanding of the mechanisms through which IT use can support the users’ achievement of their behavior change goals is still limited. Furthermore, our understanding of the mechanisms through which intentions to adopt IT can turn into actual adoption is still in its infancy.

This dissertation focuses on the role of IT (activity trackers) use in facilitating changes in health-related behaviors (physical activity) through two essays by addressing the following questions: What are the mechanisms which might facilitate translating the desire to change behavior into actual behavior change?, How effective are these mechanisms when provided via IT i.e. IT based goal striving mechanisms?, and Can goal striving mechanisms enhance IT adoption? Together the two essays advance our knowledge of the role of IT use in supporting the achievement of physical activity. Future research that builds on the findings of this dissertation research will not only advance theory but also significantly impact policies that guide IT based initiatives geared toward changing health related behaviors.