Does your smartphone make you healthier?
At this year's Eduard Martin Award ceremony at Saarland University to honor outstanding dissertations, Prof. Dr. Jana-Rebecca Rehse, Assistant Professor for Management Analytics at Mannheim University and herself a former award winner, gave a presentation on the influence of smartphones on health-promoting behavior.
Lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for many diseases – especially in industrialized nations, it contributes to increased mortality. Motivating people to be more physically active is therefore in their own interest as well as in the interest of public health.
One possible motivational aid are mobile health applications (mHealth). These can help people change their behavior toward more physical activity in the long term.
In her research, Prof. Rehse is investigating how exactly change of behavior is brought about by mHealth applications. Based on social cognitive learning theory, she analyzes how people interact with the applications and how this affects their physical activity. By analyzing fine-grained user logs, previously unproven assumptions of behavioral theory can be empirically substantiated. From this, recommendations for the optimal design of mHealth applications can be derived.