Physical inactivity is a global public health problem that poses health risks to individuals and imposes financial burdens on already strained healthcare systems. Wearables that promote regular physical activity and a healthy diet bear great potential to meet these challenges and are increasingly integrated into the healthcare system. However, extant research shows ambivalent results regarding the effectiveness of wearables in improving users’ health behavior. Specifically important is understanding users’ systematic behavior change through wearables. Constructive digitalization of the healthcare system requires a deeper understanding of why some users change their behavior and others do not. Based on self-leadership theory and our analysis of narrative interviews with 50 long-term wearable users, we identify four wearable use patterns that bring about different behavioral outcomes: following, ignoring, combining, and self-leading. Our study contributes to self-leadership theory and research on individual health information systems and has practical implications for wearable and healthcare providers.
Bibliographical noteE-pub ahead of print. Published online: 24 May 2021
- Health information systems
- Technology-based leadership
- Behavior change