Research Study Abstract

Adolescent pedometer protocols: examining reactivity, tampering and participants' perceptions

  • Published on Sept. 9, 2013

The aim of this study was to investigate adolescents’ potential reactivity and tampering while wearing pedometers by comparing different monitoring protocols to accelerometer output. The sample included adolescents (N = 123, age range = 14-15 years) from three secondary schools in New South Wales, Australia. Schools were randomised to one of the three pedometer monitoring protocols: (i) daily sealed (DS) pedometer group, (ii) unsealed (US) pedometer group or (iii) weekly sealed (WS) pedometer group. Participants wore pedometers (Yamax Digi-Walker CW700, Yamax Corporation, Kumamoto City, Japan) and accelerometers (Actigraph GT3X+, Pensacola, USA) simultaneously for seven days. Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to examine potential reactivity. Bivariate correlations between step counts and accelerometer output were calculated to explore potential tampering. The correlation between accelerometer output and pedometer steps/day was strongest among participants in the WS group (r = 0.82, P ≤ 0.001), compared to the US (r = 0.63, P ≤ 0.001) and DS (r = 0.16, P = 0.324) groups. The DS (P ≤ 0.001) and US (P = 0.003), but not the WS (P = 0.891), groups showed evidence of reactivity. The results suggest that reactivity and tampering does occur in adolescents and contrary to existing research, pedometer monitoring protocols may influence participant behaviour.


Journal of Sports Sciences