Motivational Aspects and Critical Issues of a Pedometer Intervention in Adolescents

Health Promot Pract. 2018 Jan;19(1):60-67. doi: 10.1177/1524839916667273. Epub 2016 Sep 17.


Background: Existing research shows significant effects of pedometer interventions on students' physical activity (PA). The current study investigates motivational aspects of quantitative increases in PA in the course of a school-based pedometer intervention for adolescents using qualitative data analysis. In addition, critical issues regarding pedometer use in adolescence were examined.

Method: Data were obtained in the "läuft." evaluation trial. Students of the intervention group received pedometers and took part in class competitions over a time period of 12 weeks. Qualitative data were collected through focus groups (n = 34) with students of the intervention group as well as through in-depth interviews with teachers (n = 33) who implemented the intervention. A grounded theory approach was used to analyze qualitative data.

Results: Five major motivational aspects for subsequent increases in PA were examined among students participating in the "läuft." PA program issues: (1) affordance of the pedometer, (2) awareness of the own PA, (3) self-determination with regard to time and type of PA, (4) individual goal setting, and (5) social comparison and competition.

Conclusions: Findings provide a deeper understanding of which aspects of pedometer interventions might be especially important in adolescence and help design effective future interventions for the promotion of PA.

Keywords: mixed-methods study; physical activity; school-based intervention; youth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy*
  • Adolescent
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Students