The influence of pedometer reactivity on physical activity behaviour and social cognitive variables

G Smith, Lynn Williams, Christopher O'Donnell, James McKechnie

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Objective: There is evidence that a pedometer reactivity effect may exist in short term physical activity (PA) surveillance studies. It is speculated that the immediate feedback provided by pedometers may influence participants’ PA levels (i.e. step counts) through changes in their social cognitions (i.e. increased self-efficacy/goal setting). However, little research has actually examined if this is the case. The purpose of the current study was to investigate whether any changes in PA (as a result of pedometer reactivity) was accompanied by changes in participants’ social cognitions.

Methods: A community sample of 94 participants were recruited (30 males, 64 females, mean age = 41.7 years). Participants were given pedometers to record their daily steps over a 2-week period and were instructed not to change their daily routine in any way. PA was measured using pedometers (Yamax, SW-701), daily log books, and questionnaires (IPAQ). Social cognitive factors (including selfefficacy, goal setting, social support, enjoyment, and perceived barriers) were measured using standardised questionnaires at baseline, week 1, and week 2.

Results: A series of one way repeated-measures ANOVAs were used to investigate changes in physical activity and social cognitive factors over time. The analysis revealed significant increases in self-reported walking across the 2-weeks, F (1.87, 162.9) = 2.94, p = 0.024. Conversely, this was accompanied by significant decreases in social support from family, F (2, 86) = 3.19, p = 0.0465, and levels of enjoyment, F (1.74, 151.51) = 3.19, p = 0.018. Furthermore, there were no significant changes in pedometer steps, F (1, 93) = 1.67, p = 0.2, self-efficacy, F (1.76, 153.35) = 4.42, p = 0.81, goal setting, F (1.58, 135.67) = 0.72, p = 0.46, or perceived barriers, F (1.83, 159.03) = 1.13, p = 0.32, across the study.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that pedometer wear may increase participants’ perceptions of walking in the short term. However, this may not be associated with changes in their social cognitions (i.e. self-efficacy/goal-setting) as previously speculated. Conversely, enjoyment and social support decreased, suggesting that feedback from pedometers may instead raise individuals’ awareness of the difficulties in maintaining adequate levels of PA.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2015
EventInternational Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting 2015: Advancing Behavior Change Science - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Jun 20155 Jun 2015


ConferenceInternational Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting 2015
Abbreviated titleISBNPA 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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