Understanding persistence in the use of online fitness communities: comparing novice and experienced users

Jeroen Stragier, Mariek Vanden Abeele, Peter Mechant, Lieven De Marez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Mobile and wearable technologies facilitate physiological data collection for health and wellness purposes. Users typically access these data via Online Fitness Community (OFC) platforms (e.g., Fitbit, Strava, RunKeeper). These platforms present users with functionalities centered on self-monitoring, social networking and enjoyment. In order to fully benefit from these functionalities, users need to make a habit out of integrating OFC use into their everyday workout routines. However, research suggests that users often fail to use OFCs over a longer period of time. This study sheds light on the factors that explain persisted OFC use. To that end, the study compares novice and experienced users in terms of their OFC use motives and how these motives contribute to the habitual integration of OFCs into everyday workout routines. Based on the survey responses of 394 OFC users, a multi-sample structural equation model indicates that self-regulatory and social motives directly predict habitual OFC use, and that enjoyment and self-regulatory motives indirectly predict habitual OFC use, by driving the perceived usefulness of OFCs. Moderation analysis revealed that, for novice users, self-regulatory motives are the prime drivers of habitual OFC use, while social motives and enjoyment are more important for experienced users.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-42
Number of pages9
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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