Applying motivational techniques for user adherence to adopt a healthy lifestyle in a gamified application

Fatima, Shabih, Augusto, Juan Carlos ORCID logoORCID:, Moseley, Ralph ORCID logoORCID:, Urbonas, Povilas, Elliott, Anne ORCID logoORCID: and Payne, Nicola ORCID logoORCID: (2023) Applying motivational techniques for user adherence to adopt a healthy lifestyle in a gamified application. Entertainment Computing, 46 , 100571. ISSN 1875-9521 [Article] (doi:10.1016/j.entcom.2023.100571)

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Numerous applications have been developed using gamification in the field of health and well-being to help modify lifestyle factors associated with various diseases such as cancer, diabetes and many more. To improve well-being, an individual needs motivation, and this motivation is the key driving factor responsible for user engagement. This research aims to investigate strategies to encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle using gamification and identify the key factors responsible for retaining users. The study was not limited to certain activities such as the gym or sports but also motivated people to engage in small activities, for example, doing household work, walking and many others. Most of the existing physical activity gamification application focuses on elements such as reward, leaderboard and competition, while very few of them investigate various motivational elements using motivational techniques. Therefore, as a part of the project we found useful to develop a system with which to measure different ways to implement motivational elements and to identify which motivational technique works on certain age groups. The application was developed using Unity and C# supported by iOS, Harmony OS and Android. The main aspect of the research focused on motivational techniques such as Behavior Change Techniques (BCTs) and Self-Determination Theory (SDT) to tackle the issue of behavior change and user adherence. BCTs are techniques to help individuals change their behavior to adapt to a healthy lifestyle, and SDT is a theory in which individuals motivate themselves.

The pilots were conducted to measure the impact of BCTs and SDTs with organizations such as Middlesex University, Unitas and Hendon School. The participants were of different age groups. The strategy used is to gather feedback using questionnaires and collect data used in Performance Functions to measure the effectiveness of BCTs and SDT. Using Performance Functions, we measured each component of SDT and BCT, which is one of the contributions of this research. The results show that certain age group participants adopt certain characteristics. Therefore, the Purpose component of SDT motivates participants of all age groups to be physically active compared to other SDT components. In addition, the Daily Streak was popular among adults, while Active Travel was mostly used by teenagers and children in the Habit Formation category of BCT, which helped them to stay engaged for longer.

Item Type: Article
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Computer Science > Intelligent Environments group
Item ID: 37835
Notes on copyright: Copyright: © 2023. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
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Depositing User: Juan Augusto
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2023 13:39
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2023 10:12

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