A novel inexpensive use of smartphone technology for ecological momentary assessment in middle-aged women

Diane K. Ehlers, Jennifer Huberty, Matthew Buman, Steven Hooker, Michael Todd, Gert Jan De Vreede

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Commercially available mobile and Internet technologies present a promising opportunity to feasibly conduct ecological momentary assessment (EMA). The purpose of this study was to describe a novel EMA protocol administered on middle-aged women's smartphones via text messaging and mobile Internet. Methods: Women (N = 9; mean age = 46.2 ± 8.2 y) received 35 text message prompts to a mobile survey assessing activity, self-worth, and self-efficacy over 14 days. Prompts were scheduled and surveys were administered using commercial, Internet-based programs. Prompting was tailored to each woman's daily wake/sleep schedule. Women concurrently wore a wristworn accelerometer. Feasibility was assessed via survey completion, accelerometer wear, participant feedback, and researcher notes. Results: Of 315 prompted surveys, 287 responses were valid (91.1%). Average completion time was 1.52 ± 1.03 minutes. One participant's activity data were excluded due to accelerometer malfunction, resulting in complete data from 8 participants (n = 252 [80.0%] valid observations). Women reported the survey was easily and quickly read/completed. However, most thought the accelerometer was inconvenient. Conclusions: High completion rates and perceived usability suggest capitalizing on widely available technology and tailoring prompting schedules may optimize EMA in middle-aged women. However, researchers may need to carefully select objective monitors to maintain data validity while limiting participant burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-268
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Measurement
  • Methods
  • Physical activity assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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