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26-10-2020 | Uitgave 3/2021

Quality of Life Research 3/2021

Smart wearable devices as a psychological intervention for healthy lifestyle and quality of life: a randomized controlled trial

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 3/2021
Hsin-Yen Yen
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Creating a healthy lifestyle is important across different life stages. Commercial smart wearable devices are an innovative and interesting approach as an early psychological intervention for modifying health-related behaviors. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the effects of smart wearable devices on health-promoting lifestyles and quality of life.


The study design was a three-parallel randomized controlled trial with a 3-month intervention. Two commercial smart wearable devices (smartwatches and smart bracelets) with different levels of complicated functions were applied as a psychological intervention in comparison with a smartphone app as the control group. Participants were healthy young adults with a median age of 26 years. Outcome measurements were conducted by self-administered questionnaires. Chi-square tests and ANOVA were performed for testing the difference of participants at baseline, and generalized estimating equations were performed for testing the effect of the intervention.


At the beginning, 81 participants were recruited and 73 participants completed the study. Results of a healthy lifestyle demonstrated significant group effects of exercise and a significant effect of the interaction for self-actualization and stress management in the experimental group with a smartwatch (Self-actualization: MD = 0.35[− 0.10,0.80]; Exercise: MD = 0.21[− 0.33 0.75]; Stress management: MD = 0.36[− 0.04,0.76]) by comparing with only using mobile app (Self-actualization: MD =  − 0.03[− 0.25,0.18]; Exercise: MD =  − 0.12[− 0.38,0.14]; Stress management, MD =  − 0.28[− 0.55,0.00]). The significant effect of group-by-time interaction for self-actualization was found in the experimental group with a smart bracelet (MD = 0.05[− 0.30,0.20]) by comparing with the control group. The GEE-adjusted model indicated significant effects of the interaction on the comprehensive, physical, and mental quality of life in the experimental group with the smartwatch (Comprehensive: MD = 0.24[− 0.04,0.52]; Physical: MD = 0.67[0.26,1.09]; Mental: MD = 0.72[0.29,1.16]) by comparing with the control group (Comprehensive: MD =  − 1.57[− 2.55, − 0.59]; Physical: MD = 0.25[0.00,0.50]; Mental: MD = 0.08[− 0.11,0.27]).


From a psychological perspective, smart wearable devices have potential benefits of shaping a healthy lifestyle and improving the quality of life. Enhancing the utility of commercial well-designed smart wearable devices is an innovative and effective strategy for promoting public health.

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