Perceptions of Older Adults Regarding Exergames for Physical Activity

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Perceptions of Older Adults Regarding Exergames for Physical Activity

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Title: Perceptions of Older Adults Regarding Exergames for Physical Activity
Author: Novak, Joseph
Abstract: Background. Few older adults meet national recommendations for physical activity. While exergames (active video games) are commonly used among children and young adults, little is known about older adults’ views toward exergame use for physical activity. Purpose. The purpose of this pilot study was twofold: (a) test a focus group interview guide with a conceptual framework based on Rogers’s innovation-decision process, and (b) identify themes associated with older adults’ adoption, perceived usefulness, and ease of use, maintenance of use, or discontinuance with exergames. Methods. This qualitative study included four focus groups with a total of 17 participants 65 years and older. Participants were asked to provide their current physical activity behavior using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and state their sociodemographic characteristics. Content analysis was used to analyze emerging themes and patterns from participant responses to the interview guide. Results. Although most participants did not embrace new technologies in general, many expressed themes of competition, socialization, and fun as reasons to adopt and sustain exergame use over time. Barriers included system setup and game difficulty. Future changes recommended for the interview guide include exploring competition and socialization themes as well as removing questions to shorten the duration of the session. Conclusions. Although this study consisted of a small sample, the interview guide helped uncover strong competitive and social themes. Further research may explore how these themes attract future older adults to exergames and guide software selection toward older adult interests.

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