Squats in Surveys: Investigating the Feasibility of, Compliance With, and Respondents' Performance on Fitness Tasks in Self-Administered Smartphone Surveys Using Acceleration Data
Digital health data that accompany data from traditional surveys are becoming increasingly important in health-related research. For instance, smartphones have many built-in sensors, such as accelerometers that measure acceleration so that they offer many new research possibilities. Such acceleration data can be used as a more objective supplement to health and physical fitness measures (or survey questions). In this study, we therefore investigate respondents' compliance with and performance on fitness tasks in self-administered smartphone surveys. For this purpose, we use data from a cross-sectional study as well as a lab study in which we asked respondents to do squats (knee bends). We also employed a variety of questions on respondents' health and fitness level and additionally collected high-frequency acceleration data. Our results reveal that observed compliance is higher than hypothetical compliance. Respondents gave mainly health-related reasons for non-compliance. Respondents' health status positively affects compliance propensities. Finally, the results show that acceleration data of smartphones can be used to validate the compliance with and performance on fitness tasks. These findings indicate that asking respondents to conduct fitness tasks in self-administered smartphone surveys is a feasible endeavor for collecting more objective data on physical fitness levels.