Towards More Interactive Stress-Related Self-monitoring Tools to Improve Quality of Life

  • Corinna A. Christmann
  • Gregor Zolynski
  • Alexandra HoffmannEmail author
  • Gabriele Bleser
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 818)


Self-monitoring with diaries is one way to identify stress causing events and the respective personal reactions. Considering the broad distribution of smartphones over the past decade, an interactive stress diary application (app) was developed. Diary entries are linked to changes in the appearance of an avatar to support regular usage behavior through vicarious reinforcement.

To investigate the effectiveness of this interactive feature on actual user behavior, 55 young adults randomly received one of two versions of the self-monitoring app, one with vicarious reinforcement (experimental group) and one with no changes in the avatar (control group). After a four week test interval, participants were asked for feedback. Moreover, participants filled out standardized psychometric questionnaires measuring the subjective stress level, occurrence of daily hassles, quality of sleep, and physical symptoms.

Diary entries were correlated with the scores of the respective standardized psychometric questionnaires, indicating convergent validity of the diary categories. A significant increase of missing diary entries over time was found for the control group only. In line with this finding, participants of the experimental group stated that watching the avatar’s change over time was fun. These results are a first step towards more interactive stress-related self-monitoring tools to improve quality of life.


Avatar Vicarious reinforcement Diary Smartphone App 



Special thanks are due to Ann-Kathrin Beck, Nesibe Elibol and Stefanie Scülfort for supporting the data collection. The junior research group wearHEALTH is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF, reference number: 16SV7115).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Corinna A. Christmann
    • 1
  • Gregor Zolynski
    • 1
  • Alexandra Hoffmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gabriele Bleser
    • 1
  1. 1.AG wearHEALTHTechnische Universität KaiserslauternKaiserslauternGermany

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