Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Communication

Content Description

1 online resource (vi, 127 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Archana Krishnan

Committee Members

Matthew Matsaganis


engagement, fitness tracker, physical activity, psychographic factors, technology affordances, Activity trackers (Wearable technology), Exercise, Physical fitness, Motivation (Psychology)

Subject Categories



Fitness trackers have immense potential to improve individuals’ health behaviors and health outcomes. Studies in disciplines such as public health, communication technology and information systems, have examined factors that can predict use of fitness trackers and their influence on health-related behaviors. However, not much is known about (1) which element(s) of fitness trackers affect individuals’ health behaviors, and (2) the psychological mechanism that guides the relationships between individuals’ health-related beliefs and use of fitness trackers on physical activity behaviors. Guided by the Motivational Technology Model (MTM) and Self-Determination Theory (SDT), this dissertation examined the influence of technology affordances (i.e., customization, interactivity, navigability), psychological feelings (i.e., relatedness, autonomy and competence), engagement with fitness tracker, and health psychographic factors on physical activity behavior in a sample of 970 American adults. Path modeling results showed that technology affordances significantly predicted individuals’ psychological feelings, which in turn led to users’ engagement with and actual use of fitness trackers. Of the three technology affordances, customization had a direct positive effect on users’ engagement with fitness trackers. In addition, compared to fitness tracker use, health psychographic factors more significantly predicted physical activity behaviors. This dissertation has tested the first integrated model of the influence of health and technology attributes on fitness tracker use and consequent physical activity. This has theoretical implications for the MTM and SDT, technical implications for the design of fitness tracker technology, and applied implications for the strategic use of fitness trackers in physical activity interventions.

Included in

Communication Commons