EMA to understand physical activity of cancer patients

Using EMA to understand the impact of wearables on physical activity of cancer patients

Research team
Cindy Forbes, Max Western, Katarzyna Stawarz, Daniel Harrison

Summary of project proposal
Physical activity is one of the most important behaviours that a person can do to help prevent and manage cancer. Maintaining physical activity throughout and post treatment for cancer is linked to better physical and mental health, and potentially better cancer outcomes, thus reducing strain on the health services whilst improving people’s quality of life. Wearable technologies can help people better understand their behaviour and motivate increases in physical activity, but they don’t support habit formation which is necessary to maintain a long term change in behaviour. They also tend predominately to be used by young, healthy and often sporty individuals and neglect those who could benefit most.

This project will use innovative ecological momentary assessment - repeated sampling of subjects' current behaviours and experiences in real time, in their natural environments (EMA) to:

  • learn what impact using wearables has on key psycho-social predictors of habit formation in people who don’t currently use wearables
  • develop a real-time intervention to support behavioural maintenance, and
  • inform the development of a just-in-time adaptive intervention (JITAI) that goes beyond supporting activity tracking and provides feedback to help people living with or beyond cancer of to develop physical activity habits.- -