Stepping Up: An Evaluation of Social Comparison of Physical Activity During Fitbit Challenges

Jessica A. Nastasi, Erin M. Curry, Romina E. Martinez, Danielle Arigo, Bethany R. Raiff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current set of within-subject, single-case design studies examined how exposure to social comparison information may impact physical activity in sedentary individuals. In Study 1, participants (N = 6) were exposed to two Fitbit challenges, one with a physically active confederate and another with a sedentary confederate. Each challenge phase lasted 7 days, during which participants were able to compare their daily steps to the assigned confederate on a ranked leaderboard, received notifications if their cumulative steps were surpassed by the confederate, and a notification indicating if they won at the conclusion of each challenge (i.e., active confederate in challenge one then sedentary confederate in challenge two, or vice versa). Study 2 replicated the procedures used in Study 1 but controlled for the distance between confederate and participant daily steps (N = 4). In Study 3, participants (N = 4) were exposed to the same confederate twice to evaluate potential order effects. Results showed that physical activity increased for most participants, but the direction and magnitude of effects differed across participants, challenge type, and order of confederate exposure. The factors producing differential responding to the Fitbit challenges, and the implications for future research on the effects of competition and social comparison on behavior, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-276
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Technology in Behavioral Science
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Applied Psychology
  • Computer Science Applications

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