Commitment lotteries promote physical activity among overweight adults

A cluster randomized trial

K. van der Swaluw, M.S. Lambooij, J.J.P. Mathijssen, M. Schipper, M. Zeelenberg, S. Berkhout, J.J. Polder, H.M. Prast

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Abstract

Background:
The World Health Organization has identified physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. People often intend to engage in physical activity on a regular basis, but have trouble doing so. To realize their health goals, people can voluntarily accept deadlines with consequences that restrict undesired future behaviors (i.e., commitment devices).
Purpose:
We examined if lottery-based deadlines that leverage regret aversion would help overweight individuals in attaining their goal of attending their gym twice per week. At each deadline a lottery winner was drawn from all participants.
The winners were only eligible for their prize if they attained their gym-attendance goals. Importantly, nonattending lottery winners were informed about their forgone prize. The promise of this counterfactual feedback was designed to evoke anticipated regret and emphasize the deadlines.
Methods:
Six corporate gyms with a total of 163 overweight participants were randomized to one of three arms. We compared (i) weekly short-term lotteries for 13
weeks; (ii) the same short-term lotteries in combination with an additional long-term lottery after 26 weeks; and (iii) a control arm without lotteries.
Results:
After 13 weeks, participants in the lottery arms attained their attendance goals more often than participants in the control arm. After 26 weeks, we observe a
decline in goal attainment in the short-term lottery arm and the highest goal attainment in the long-term lottery arm.
Conclusions:
With novel applications, the current research adds to a growing body of research that demonstrates the effectiveness of commitment devices in closing the gap between health goals and behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-351
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Volume52
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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Keywords

  • ANTICIPATED REGRET
  • BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS
  • BODY-MASS INDEX
  • Behavior change
  • Behavioral economics
  • Commitment devices
  • Deadlines
  • HABIT FORMATION
  • HEALTH BEHAVIORS
  • Health promotion
  • INCENTIVES
  • METAANALYSIS
  • OBESE
  • Physical activity
  • SELF-CONTROL
  • WEIGHT-LOSS

Cite this

@article{e54dcec930654cc5813dd06686c88def,
title = "Commitment lotteries promote physical activity among overweight adults: A cluster randomized trial",
abstract = "Background: The World Health Organization has identified physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. People often intend to engage in physical activity on a regular basis, but have trouble doing so. To realize their health goals, people can voluntarily accept deadlines with consequences that restrict undesired future behaviors (i.e., commitment devices).Purpose: We examined if lottery-based deadlines that leverage regret aversion would help overweight individuals in attaining their goal of attending their gym twice per week. At each deadline a lottery winner was drawn from all participants.The winners were only eligible for their prize if they attained their gym-attendance goals. Importantly, nonattending lottery winners were informed about their forgone prize. The promise of this counterfactual feedback was designed to evoke anticipated regret and emphasize the deadlines.Methods: Six corporate gyms with a total of 163 overweight participants were randomized to one of three arms. We compared (i) weekly short-term lotteries for 13weeks; (ii) the same short-term lotteries in combination with an additional long-term lottery after 26 weeks; and (iii) a control arm without lotteries.Results:After 13 weeks, participants in the lottery arms attained their attendance goals more often than participants in the control arm. After 26 weeks, we observe adecline in goal attainment in the short-term lottery arm and the highest goal attainment in the long-term lottery arm.Conclusions: With novel applications, the current research adds to a growing body of research that demonstrates the effectiveness of commitment devices in closing the gap between health goals and behavior.",
keywords = "ANTICIPATED REGRET, BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS, BODY-MASS INDEX, Behavior change, Behavioral economics, Commitment devices, Deadlines, HABIT FORMATION, HEALTH BEHAVIORS, Health promotion, INCENTIVES, METAANALYSIS, OBESE, Physical activity, SELF-CONTROL, WEIGHT-LOSS",
author = "{van der Swaluw}, K. and M.S. Lambooij and J.J.P. Mathijssen and M. Schipper and M. Zeelenberg and S. Berkhout and J.J. Polder and H.M. Prast",
year = "2018",
doi = "10.1093/abm/kax017",
language = "English",
volume = "52",
pages = "342--351",
journal = "Annals of Behavioral Medicine",
issn = "0883-6612",
publisher = "Springer New York",
number = "4",

}

Commitment lotteries promote physical activity among overweight adults : A cluster randomized trial. / van der Swaluw, K.; Lambooij, M.S.; Mathijssen, J.J.P.; Schipper, M.; Zeelenberg, M.; Berkhout, S.; Polder, J.J.; Prast, H.M.

In: Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Vol. 52, No. 4, 2018, p. 342-351.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Commitment lotteries promote physical activity among overweight adults

T2 - A cluster randomized trial

AU - van der Swaluw, K.

AU - Lambooij, M.S.

AU - Mathijssen, J.J.P.

AU - Schipper, M.

AU - Zeelenberg, M.

AU - Berkhout, S.

AU - Polder, J.J.

AU - Prast, H.M.

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - Background: The World Health Organization has identified physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. People often intend to engage in physical activity on a regular basis, but have trouble doing so. To realize their health goals, people can voluntarily accept deadlines with consequences that restrict undesired future behaviors (i.e., commitment devices).Purpose: We examined if lottery-based deadlines that leverage regret aversion would help overweight individuals in attaining their goal of attending their gym twice per week. At each deadline a lottery winner was drawn from all participants.The winners were only eligible for their prize if they attained their gym-attendance goals. Importantly, nonattending lottery winners were informed about their forgone prize. The promise of this counterfactual feedback was designed to evoke anticipated regret and emphasize the deadlines.Methods: Six corporate gyms with a total of 163 overweight participants were randomized to one of three arms. We compared (i) weekly short-term lotteries for 13weeks; (ii) the same short-term lotteries in combination with an additional long-term lottery after 26 weeks; and (iii) a control arm without lotteries.Results:After 13 weeks, participants in the lottery arms attained their attendance goals more often than participants in the control arm. After 26 weeks, we observe adecline in goal attainment in the short-term lottery arm and the highest goal attainment in the long-term lottery arm.Conclusions: With novel applications, the current research adds to a growing body of research that demonstrates the effectiveness of commitment devices in closing the gap between health goals and behavior.

AB - Background: The World Health Organization has identified physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. People often intend to engage in physical activity on a regular basis, but have trouble doing so. To realize their health goals, people can voluntarily accept deadlines with consequences that restrict undesired future behaviors (i.e., commitment devices).Purpose: We examined if lottery-based deadlines that leverage regret aversion would help overweight individuals in attaining their goal of attending their gym twice per week. At each deadline a lottery winner was drawn from all participants.The winners were only eligible for their prize if they attained their gym-attendance goals. Importantly, nonattending lottery winners were informed about their forgone prize. The promise of this counterfactual feedback was designed to evoke anticipated regret and emphasize the deadlines.Methods: Six corporate gyms with a total of 163 overweight participants were randomized to one of three arms. We compared (i) weekly short-term lotteries for 13weeks; (ii) the same short-term lotteries in combination with an additional long-term lottery after 26 weeks; and (iii) a control arm without lotteries.Results:After 13 weeks, participants in the lottery arms attained their attendance goals more often than participants in the control arm. After 26 weeks, we observe adecline in goal attainment in the short-term lottery arm and the highest goal attainment in the long-term lottery arm.Conclusions: With novel applications, the current research adds to a growing body of research that demonstrates the effectiveness of commitment devices in closing the gap between health goals and behavior.

KW - ANTICIPATED REGRET

KW - BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS

KW - BODY-MASS INDEX

KW - Behavior change

KW - Behavioral economics

KW - Commitment devices

KW - Deadlines

KW - HABIT FORMATION

KW - HEALTH BEHAVIORS

KW - Health promotion

KW - INCENTIVES

KW - METAANALYSIS

KW - OBESE

KW - Physical activity

KW - SELF-CONTROL

KW - WEIGHT-LOSS

U2 - 10.1093/abm/kax017

DO - 10.1093/abm/kax017

M3 - Article

VL - 52

SP - 342

EP - 351

JO - Annals of Behavioral Medicine

JF - Annals of Behavioral Medicine

SN - 0883-6612

IS - 4

ER -