Date of Award

8-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Psychology

Program

Psychology - General

First Advisor/Chairperson

Dr. Mounia Ziat

Abstract

Literature suggests that exercise has benefits for health and mood. For people suffering from depression however, even summoning motivation to go for a walk can seem impossible, no matter the alleged benefits. My study builds on current articles suggesting that wearable technology like activity-tracking bracelets can have significant effects on motivation and physical health goals. The current study followed 11 individuals who met the minimum threshold for depression as measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) for a period of 28 days and tracked their walking using a Jawbone UP activity bracelet. The results showed that daily activity differed significantly across participants and did not have an effect on daily scores on PHQ-9 questions except for the Question 5 related to appetite. These scores increased significantly at the end of the period (day 27 specifically) but also decrease significantly the following day (day 28) suggesting that appetite concerns fluctuate day to day and do not necessarily correlate with the number of steps. Concerns about sleep were less intense on average during the first week but fluctuated across the remaining three weeks. Scores indicating whether participants felt bad about themselves varied between high and low scores over the period and had no correlation with the number of steps.

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