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J Health Commun. 2011 Feb;16(2):148-62. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2010.535107.

Promoting exercise self-efficacy with an exergame.

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  • 1Department of Communication, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.


A new generation of exercise video games (exergames) shows promise as a tool to motivate and engage users in physical activity. However, little research has been conducted to examine whether exergames work equally well across diverse populations and contexts. Therefore, in the present study, the authors investigated the effects of an individual psychological difference factor and a specific contextual factor on the exercise experience using an exergame. They used the objective self-awareness theory as the theoretical underpinning. In a 2 (seeing the image of self on screen: seeing oneself vs. not seeing oneself) × 2 (body image dissatisfaction: low vs. high) between-subjects design experiment, the authors found significant interaction effects showing that the feature of seeing the image of self on screen provided by the exergame works positively for individuals with low body image dissatisfaction, yet works negatively for individuals with high body image dissatisfaction. The finding of the present study has significant implications for health professionals and individuals who use the new generation of exergames for physical activities.

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