Background: The use of new technology has the potential to increase participation rates in dietary studies and improve the validity of collected dietary data. However, to evaluate the usability of developed dietary methods, qualitative studies of participants’ experiences and perceptions are needed.
Objective: To explore adolescents’ experiences using a newly developed mobile phone dietary assessment app, with a focus on factors that could affect their recording of dietary intake.
Methods: Focus group interviews were conducted with 75 participants who had used a newly developed mobile phone dietary assessment app in a quantitative evaluation study. The interviews were analyzed using qualitative content analysis and the theoretical framework of Self Determination Theory was applied.
Results: The adolescents’ use of the mobile phone dietary assessment app was characterized by their struggle to overcome several perceived barriers. Facilitators that helped adolescents complete the method were also identified. Motivation was found to be an important facilitator, and intrinsically motivated participants completed the method because they found it fun to use. The autonomous extrinsically motivated participants completed the method for the greater good, in order to contribute to the study. The controlled extrinsically motivated participants completed the method to get a reward or avoid punishment. Amotivated participants did not complete the method. More motivated participants were assumed to be more able to overcome barriers and needed less facilitators.
Conclusions: Future studies that examine the recording of food intake should include systematic efforts that aim to minimize identified barriers and promote identified facilitators. Further research should specifically aim at studying methods for (and effects of) increasing intrinsic motivation by supporting autonomy, competence, and relatedness among adolescents asked to participate in dietary studies.
2016. Vol. 4, no 3, e92
adolescents, content analysis, dietary assessment, Self Determination Theory, mobile phone app