Tension-type headache is a common psychosomatic disease. However, diurnal variation of headache is yet to be clarified, perhaps due to the lack of an appropriate method to investigate it. Like other painful diseases, it would be helpful to know if there is diurnal variation in tension-type headaches, both for managing headaches and understanding their pathophysiology. The aim of this study was to determine if there is diurnal variation in the intensity and exacerbation of tension-type headache.
Patients (N = 31) with tension-type headache recorded for one week their momentary headache intensity several times a day and their acute headache exacerbations using a watch-type computer as an electronic diary (computerized ecological momentary assessment). Multilevel modeling was used to test the effects of time of day on momentary headache intensity and on the occurrence of acute exacerbations.
A significant diurnal variation in momentary headache intensity was shown (P = 0.0005), with the weakest headaches in the morning and a peak in the late afternoon. A between-individual difference in the diurnal pattern was suggested. On-demand medication use was associated with a different diurnal pattern (P = 0.025), suggesting that headache intensity decreases earlier in the evening in subjects who used on-demand medication, while headache subtype, prophylactic medication use, and sex were not associated with the difference. The occurrence of acute headache exacerbation also showed a significant diurnal variation, with a peak after noon (P = 0.0015).
Tension-type headache was shown to have a significant diurnal variation. The relation to pathophysiology and psychosocial aspects needs to be further explored.
Tension-type headache; Ecological momentary assessment; Electronic diary; Diurnal variation
This study evaluated and compared several methods of assessing daily cigarette consumption.
Comparison of measures of daily cigarette consumption from several sources, from 232 smokers entering a smoking cessation program.
Main Outcome Measures
Global reports of average smoking, Time-Line Follow-Back recall for the week preceding the study (pre-monitoring TLFB), two weeks’ cigarette recordings using electronic diaries and ecological momentary assessment (EMA), and TLFB recall of smoking during EMA (monitored TLFB).
Global reports and pre-monitoring TLFB showed severe digit bias: 6 times as many values as expected were rounded at 10. Monitored TLFB also showed substantial digit bias (4 times). EMA data showed none. EMA averaged 2.6 cigarettes lower than monitored TLFB, but exceeded TLFB on 32% of days. Across days, EMA and TLFB only correlated 0.29. Daily variations in TLFB did not correlate with variations in carbon monoxide (CO) measures taken on three days, but EMA measures did; among subjects whose CO varied, r= 0.69. CO correlated with EMA cigarettes recorded in the preceding two hours, suggesting timely recording of cigarettes.
TLFB measures are limited for precise assessment of cigarette consumption. EMA measures appear to be useful for tracking smoking, and likely other health-relevant events.
smoking; digit bias; ecological momentary assessment
Computerized ecological momentary assessment (EMA) is widely accepted as a “gold standard” method for capturing momentary symptoms repeatedly experienced in daily life. Although many studies have addressed the within-individual temporal variations in momentary symptoms compared with simultaneously measured external criteria, their concurrent associations, specifically with continuous physiological measures, have not been rigorously examined. Therefore, in the present study, we first examined the variations in momentary symptoms by validating the associations among self-reported symptoms measured simultaneously (depressive mood, anxious mood, and fatigue) and then investigated covariant properties between the symptoms (especially, depressive mood) and local statistics of locomotor activity as the external objective criteria obtained continuously. Healthy subjects (N = 85) from three different populations (adolescents, undergraduates, and office workers) wore a watch-type computer device equipped with EMA software for recording the momentary symptoms experienced by the subjects. Locomotor activity data were also continuously obtained by using an actigraph built into the device. Multilevel modeling analysis confirmed convergent associations by showing positive correlations among momentary symptoms. The increased intermittency of locomotor activity, characterized by a combination of reduced activity with occasional bursts, appeared concurrently with the worsening of depressive mood. Further, this association remained statistically unchanged across groups regardless of group differences in age, lifestyle, and occupation. These results indicate that the temporal variations in the momentary symptoms are not random but reflect the underlying changes in psychophysiological variables in daily life. In addition, our findings on the concurrent changes in depressive mood and locomotor activity may contribute to the continuous estimation of changes in depressive mood and early detection of depressive disorders.
This study examined the feasibility of using Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) to examine important domains relevant to interregulatory health processes in overweight adolescent females in their natural environments. Participants were 20 overweight adolescent females engaged in a cognitive–behavioral and motivational interviewing intervention aimed at weight loss and improving mood (11–19 years old, 80% white, 15% African American, mean BMI = 39). During this EMA protocol, participants were asked to report their physical activity (PA), nutrition, mood, and sleep during 14 cellular phone calls over three extended weekends (Thursday to Monday). Simultaneously, participants wore an actigraph (armband and watch communicator) that provided instantaneous PA feedback (steps taken and kilocalories) and sleep parameters (duration and efficiency). EMA compliance rates for the armband and phone calls were 74.7 ± 0.3% and 64.2 ± 0.3%, respectively. Data from the armband and phone calls are presented to illustrate the depth of information acquired by utilizing this innovative methodology.
Panic disorder is one of the anxiety disorders, and anxiety is associated with some locomotor activity changes such as "restlessness". However, there have been few studies on locomotor activity in panic disorder using actigraphy, although many studies on other psychiatric disorders have been reported using actigraphy. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between panic disorder and locomotor activity pattern using a wrist-worn activity monitor. In addition, an ecological momentary assessment technique was used to record panic attacks in natural settings.
Sixteen patients with panic disorder were asked to wear a watch-type computer as an electronic diary for recording panic attacks for two weeks. In addition, locomotor activity was measured and recorded continuously in an accelerometer equipped in the watch-type computer. Locomotor activity data were analyzed using double cosinor analysis to calculate mesor and the amplitude and acrophase of each of the circadian rhythm and 12-hour harmonic component. Correlations between panic disorder symptoms and locomotor activity were investigated.
There were significant positive correlations between the frequency of panic attacks and mesor calculated from double cosinor analysis of locomotor activity (r = 0.55) and between HAM-A scores and mesor calculated from double cosinor analysis of locomotor activity (r = 0.62).
Panic disorder patients with more panic attacks and more anxiety have greater objectively assessed locomotor activity, which may reflect the "restlessness" of anxiety disorders.
Emerging evidence suggests the existence of bidirectional links between sleep and relational processes in dyads, but to date, this research has been primarily cross-sectional. The present analyses were undertaken to prospectively examine the directionality of the association between daily relationship functioning and nightly sleep quality and the association between couples’ relationship functioning and concordance in sleep-wake rhythms.
Sleep was measured via both diaries and wrist actigraphy for 7 days in 29 heterosexual co-sleeping couples. Ecological momentary assessment methods were used to characterize daily relationship functioning. Dyadic, multilevel analyses were used to examine the degree to which nightly sleep efficiency or within-couple concordance in sleep timing predicted the next day’s relational functioning and vice versa.
In the first set of analyses, for males, higher diary-based sleep efficiency predicted less negative partner interaction the following day. For females, less negative partner interaction during the day predicted greater actigraphy-based sleep efficiency that night. Furthermore, if females reported more positive and less negative daytime partner interaction during the day, this also predicted higher diary-based sleep efficiency for their male partners that night. In the second set of analyses, among females only, lower diary- or actigraphy-based sleep onset concordance respectively predicted less positive and more negative partner interactions the next day.
Bidirectional associations appear to exist between sleep parameters and interpersonal interaction, and may represent a novel pathway linking close relationships with physical and mental health.
sleep; couples; relationships; relationship quality
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic musculoskeletal pain disorder characterized by generalized pain, chronic fatigue, sleep disturbance, and a range of other symptoms having no definitive pathology. Consequently, patient evaluations rely on self-report. Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) allows frequent real-time collection of self-report measures, removing recall bias and increasing external validity. We studied 81 females with FMS aged 18 to 42. Participants carried EMA devices (Palm Pilot M100) programmed to request ratings to 8 FMS symptoms/conditions 3 times daily for 30 days. Completeness of response rates varied across participants and over time. Controlling for immediately previous fatigue (ie, fatigue rating from the immediately preceding rating), unit increases in immediately previous pain and Immediately previous emotional distress predicted 9% and 7% increases, respectively, in current fatigue. Controlling for immediately previous emotional distress, a unit increase in immediately previous pain predicted 7% increase in current emotional distress. Controlled for immediately previous pain, a unit increase in immediately previous fatigue predicted a 7% increase in current pain, enhanced by prior diurnal effects; immediately previous emotional distress was not significant. Collectively these results suggest an asymmetry in which emotional stress and pain may increase fatigue, fatigue but not emotional distress may increase pain, and pain but not fatigue may increase emotional distress. Despite small effects and person-to-person variability, these findings suggest that longitudinal data collection by EMA may reveal sequential or causal explanatory patterns with important clinical implications.
Understanding how multiple symptoms covary in FMS is essential for optimal treatment planning. Our results show that small but significant temporal relations among pain, fatigue and emotional distress. Our results also provide support for the use of EMA as a viable data collection method that allows longitudinal, real-time assessment of multiple FMS symptoms.
Introduction. Tension-Type Headache (TTH) is the most prevalent headache often associated with impaired function and quality of life. Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) and TTH frequently coexist; characterized by pericranial tenderness and impact on daily life. We aim to apply a standardized questionnaire for TMD to characterize and analyse an eventual relation between sleep and oral health in TTH in a controlled design. Material and Methods. 58 consecutive TTH patients and 58 healthy controls were included. The Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (RDC/TMD) questionnaire, Oral Health Impact profile (OHIP) and questionnaires for sleep were applied. Results. TTH-patients had significantly higher pain scores (P < 0.001), decreased quality of life (P < 0.001), and higher total sleep scores (P < 0.001) compared to controls. Conclusion. For the first time we have identified a clear relation between TTH and TMD symptoms, depression, anxiety, poor sleep, and impairments of oral function in carefully classified patients. These findings indicate a close, but incomplete, overlap between TTH and TMD. Their underlying pathophysiological mechanisms need further research.
Objective This study examines relationships between affect and sleep in youth with affective disorders using ecological momentary assessment (EMA). Methods Participants included 94 youth, ages 8–16 (M = 11.73, 53% female) years with an anxiety disorder only (n = 23), primary major depressive disorder (with and without a secondary anxiety diagnoses; n = 42), and healthy controls (n = 29). A cell phone EMA protocol assessed affect and actigraphy measured sleep. Results The patterns of bidirectional relationships between affect and sleep differed across diagnostic groups. Higher daytime positive affect and positive to negative affect ratios were associated with more time in bed during the subsequent night for youth with primary depression and less time in bed for youth with anxiety only. More time asleep was associated with more positive affect for both diagnostic groups the following day. Conclusions This relationship may be important to consider in the treatment of youth affective disorders.
adolescents; anxiety; children; depression; sleep
Self-reports of sensitive, socially stigmatized or illegal behavior are common in STI/HIV research, but can raise challenges in terms of data reliability and validity. The use of electronic data collection tools, including ecological momentary assessment (EMA), can increase the accuracy of this information by allowing a participant to self-administer a survey or diary entry, in their own environment, as close to the occurrence of the behavior as possible. In this paper, we evaluate the feasibility of using cell phone-based EMA as a tool for understanding sexual risk and STI among adult men and women.
As part of a larger prospective clinical study on sexual risk behavior and incident STI in clinically recruited adult men and women, using study-provided cell phones, participants (N = 243) completed thrice–daily EMA diaries monitoring individual and partner-specific emotional attributes, non-sexual activities, non-coital or coital sexual behaviors, and contraceptive behaviors. Using these data, we assess feasibility in terms of participant compliance, behavior reactivity, general method acceptability and method efficacy for capturing behaviors.
Participants were highly compliant with diary entry protocol and schedule: over the entire 12 study weeks, participants submitted 89.7% (54,914/61,236) of the expected diary entries, with an average of 18.86 of the 21 expected diaries (85.7%) each week. Submission did not differ substantially across gender, race/ethnicity and baseline sexually transmitted infection status. A sufficient volume and range of sexual behaviors were captured, with reporting trends in different legal and illegal behaviors showing small variation over time. Participants found the methodology to be acceptable, enjoyed and felt comfortable participating in the study.
Achieving the correct medium of data collection can drastically improve, or degrade, the timeliness and quality of an individual’s self-reported sexual risk behavior, which in turn, is a key factor in the success of intervention or education programs relying on this information. Our findings demonstrate that completion of electronic diaries via cellular phone is feasible way to describe STI/HIV risk among clinically recruited adult men and women.
Bipolar disorder is an illness characterized by sleep and circadian disturbance, and monitoring sleep in this population may signal an impending mood change. Actigraphy is an important clinical and research tool for examining sleep, but has not yet been systematically compared to polysomnography or sleep diary in bipolar disorder. The present study compares actigraphy, polysomnography, and sleep diary estimates of five standard sleep parameters in individuals with bipolar disorder and matched controls across two nights of assessment.
Twenty-seven individuals who met diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder type I or II and were currently between mood episodes, along with 27 matched controls with no history of psychopathology or sleep disturbance, underwent two nights of research laboratory monitoring. Sleep was estimated via polysomnography, actigraphy, and sleep diary.
Over the 108 nights available for comparison, sleep parameter estimates from actigraphy and polysomnography were highly correlated and did not differ between the two groups or across the two nights for sleep onset latency, wake after sleep onset, number of awakenings, total sleep time, or sleep efficiency percentage. The medium wake threshold algorithm in the actigraphy software was the most concordant with polysomnography and diaries across the five sleep parameters. Concordance between actigraphy, polysomnography, and sleep diary was largely independent of insomnia presence and medication use.
Actigraphy is a valid tool for estimating sleep length and fragmentation in bipolar disorder.
actigraphy; bipolar disorder; polysomnography; sleep; sleep diary
Uncertainty exists about how best to measure daily cigarette consumption. Two common measures are timeline followback (TLFB), which involves structured, prompted recall, and ecological momentary assessment (EMA), which involves recording consumption, as it occurs, on a handheld electronic device.
We evaluated the agreement between TLFB and EMA measures collected for 14 days prior to the target quit date from 236 smokers in a smoking cessation program. We performed a Bland–Altman analysis to assess agreement of TLFB and EMA using a regression-based model that allows for a nonuniform difference between methods and limits of agreement that can vary with the number of cigarettes smoked.
For pairs of measurements taken on the same smoker, TLFB counts were on average 3.2 cigarettes higher than EMA counts; this difference increased for larger numbers of cigarettes. Using a model that allows for variable limits of agreement, the width of the 95% interval ranged from 8.7 to 61.8 cigarettes, with an average of 26.4 cigarettes. Variation between the methods increased substantially for larger cigarette counts, leading to wider limits and poorer agreement for heavy smokers.
Throughout the measurement range, the estimated limits of agreement were far wider than the limits of clinical significance, defined a priori to be 20% of the number of cigarettes smoked. We conclude that TLFB and EMA cannot be considered equivalent for the assessment of daily cigarette consumption, especially for heavy smokers.
Smartphones were used in an online Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) design to test prodromal functioning relative to the interictal state in migraine patients. Eighty-seven participants completed an electronic diary 4 times daily during 3-6 weeks to monitor their migraine attacks. Twice daily the diary additionally included 16 multi-answer questions covering physical symptoms (30 items), cognitive-affective functioning (25 items) and external factors (25 items). Eight clustered prodromal features were identified in the current study: sensory sensitivity, pain/stiffness, fatigue, cognitive functioning, positive affect, negative affect, effort spent and stressors encountered. Per feature, individual change scores with interictal control days - excluding 24-hour post-attack recovery - were computed for six 12-hour pre-attack time windows covering three prodromal days. Linear mixed model (fixed-effect) analysis established significant increases in sensory sensitivity, pain/stiffness and fatigue, and a tendency for increased negative affect, in the 12 hours prior to the attack. Positive affect and cognitive functioning were impaired both in the 25-36 hour and - more strongly - in the 12-hour time window before the attack. No effects were found for effort spent and stressors encountered. Exploratory (random effect) analysis revealed significant individual differences in the change scores in sensory sensitivity, pain/stiffness, fatigue and negative affect. It is concluded that the prodromal change in migraine - relative to interictal functioning - predominantly exists within the last 12 hours before attack onset. Individual diversity is large, however. Future research should zoom in to identify prodrome development within the 12 pre-attack hours as well as to isolate individual patterns.
The recent explosion of technology has moved the field of patient reported outcomes (PROs) into a new era. Use of paper-and-pencil questionnaires administered before and after treatment has been eclipsed by highly sophisticated random prompts for symptom ratings at multiple points throughout the day, a method known as ecological momentary assessment (EMA). During the last 25 years, research has demonstrated that retrospective ratings are subject to a variety of cognitive heuristics that can distort the report. Initially, this was addressed by adopting paper diary protocols involving multiple ratings in a day or across a week. Technology was also advancing, and some researchers began to utilize electronic platforms for EMA assessment. A good deal of research has been conducted comparing paper and electronic formats. Issues of compliance have been particularly problematic for paper diaries. Electronic technologies can be expensive and require expertise in programming and data management. Not all research questions will require intensive momentary assessment, and end-of-day ratings may be adequate for many applications. What is required of the investigator is familiarity with the strengths and weaknesses of the methods and platforms available as well as a reasoned decision to elect a particular methodology for the study question at hand.
Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance (IEI) attributed to electromagnetic fields (EMF) refers to self-reported sensitivity mainly characterised by the attribution of non-specific physical symptoms to low-level EMF exposure emitted from sources such as mobile phones. Scientific studies have not provided evidence for the existence of IEI-EMF, but these studies did not resemble the real-life situation or suffered from poor exposure characterisation and biased recall of health symptoms. To improve existing methods for the study of IEI-EMF, an Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) study is designed.
Methods and analysis
The study is an EMA study in which respondents carry personal exposure metres (exposimeters) that measure radiofrequency (RF) EMF, with frequent assessment of health symptoms and perceived EMF exposure through electronic diary registration during five consecutive days. Participants will be a selection from an epidemiological study who report to be sensitive to RF EMF. The exposimeters measure electric field strength in 12 frequency bands. Diary questions include the occurrence and severity of 10 non-specific physical symptoms, mood states and perceived exposure to (sources of) EMF. The relationship of actual and perceived EMF exposure and mood with non-specific physical symptoms will be analysed using multilevel regression analysis with time-shift models.
The study has several advantages over previous studies, including assessment of personal EMF exposure and non-specific physical symptoms by an ecological method with a minimised chance of recall bias. The within-person design reduces confounding by time-stable factors (eg, personal characteristics). In the conduct of the study and the analysis and interpretation of its outcomes, some methodological issues including a high participant burden, reactivity, compliance to the study protocol and the potential of chance findings due to multiple statistical testing will be accounted for and limited as much as possible.
Epidemiology; Statistics & Research Methods; Public Health
In Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), participants electronically report their activities and moods in their daily environments in real time, enabling a truly prospective approach to the study of acute precipitants of behavioral events. EMA has greatly enhanced the study of tobacco addiction, but has rarely been attempted in individuals with cocaine or heroin addiction.
To prospectively monitor the acute daily-life precipitants of craving for, and use of, cocaine and heroin.
A volunteer sample of 114 cocaine- and heroin-abusing outpatients who were being treated with methadone provided EMA data on handheld computers for 14,918 person-days (mean 130.9 days per participant, range 6–189). Of those 114, a total of 102 (63 men, 39 women) provided acute pre-craving or pre-use data and were thus included in the present analyses.
Main outcome measures
Changes in reports of mood and exposure to 12 putative drug-use triggers at random intervals during the five hours preceding each self-reported episode of drug craving or use, analyzed via repeated-measures logistic regression (SAS GLIMMIX macro).
During the five hours preceding cocaine use or heroin craving, most of the 12 putative triggers showed linear increases. Cocaine use was most robustly associated with increases in reports of “Saw Drug” (p<.0001), “Tempted to use out of the blue” (p<.0001), “Wanted to see what would happen if I used” (p<.0001), and “Good mood” (p<.0001). Heroin craving was most robustly associated with increases in reports of “Sad” (p=.0002) and “Angry” (p<.011). Cocaine craving and heroin use showed few reliable associations with any of the putative triggers assessed.
These findings confirm that polydrug-abusing individuals can provide behavioral data in their daily environments using handheld computers, and that those data can reveal orderly patterns, including prospectively detectable harbingers of craving and use, which may differ across drugs.
Alcohol and tobacco use covary at multiple levels of analysis, and co-use of the two substances may have profound health consequences. In order to characterize the motivationally relevant processes contributing to co-use, the current study used Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) to examine the subjective consequences of naturally occurring simultaneous use of alcohol and tobacco. Current smokers who reported frequently drinking alcohol (N = 259) monitored their daily experiences for 21 days using electronic diaries. Participants responded to prompted assessments and also initiated recordings when they smoked a cigarette or completed the first drink in a drinking episode. Momentary reports of smoking and alcohol consumption were associated with one another, and these effects remained after adjustment for occasion- and person-level covariates. When participants consumed alcohol, they reported increased pleasure and decreased punishment from the last cigarette. Smoking was associated with small increases in pleasure from the last drink. Ratings of “buzzed” and “dizzy” were synergistically affected by co-use of alcohol and tobacco. Co-use was also followed by higher levels of craving for both alcohol and tobacco. Results point to the importance of reward and incentive processes in ongoing drug use and suggest that alcohol intensifies real-time reports of the motivational consequences of smoking more strongly than smoking affects corresponding appraisals of alcohol effects.
alcohol; cigarettes; electronic diary; craving; reward; reinforcement
This study used Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) data from smokers trying to quit to assess relations among coping, positive affect, negative affect, and smoking. The effects of stress coping on affect and smoking were examined.
Data from a randomized clinical trial of smoking cessation treatments were submitted to multilevel modeling to test the effects of coping with stressful events on subsequent affect and smoking.
372 adult, daily smokers who reported at least one stressful event and coping episode and provided post-quit data.
Participants’ smoking, coping, and affect were assessed in near real time with multiple EMA reports using electronic diaries pre-and post-quit.
Multilevel models indicated that a single coping episode did not predict a change in smoking risk over the next 4 or 48 hours, but coping in men was associated with concurrent reports of increased smoking. Coping predicted improved positive and negative affect reported within 4 hours of coping, but these affective gains did not predict reduced likelihood of later smoking. Pre-quit coping frequency and gender moderated post-quit stress coping relations with later positive affect. Men and those with greater pre-quit coping frequency reported greater gains in positive affect following post-quit coping.
Coping responses early in a quit attempt may help smokers trying to quit feel better but may not help them stay smoke-free.
smoking cessation; stress; coping; affect; ecological momentary assessment; multilevel modeling
Complementary and alternative medicine approaches to treatment for tension-type headache are increasingly popular among patients, but evidence supporting its efficacy is limited. The objective of this study was to assess short term changes on primary and secondary headache pain measures in patients with tension-type headache (TTH) receiving a structured massage therapy program with a focus on myofascial trigger point therapy. Participants were enrolled in an open label trial using a baseline control with four 3-week phases: baseline, massage (two 3-week phases) and follow-up. Twice weekly, 45-minute massage sessions commenced following the baseline phase. A daily headache diary was maintained throughout the study in which participants recorded headache incidence, intensity, and duration. The Headache Disability Index was administered upon study entry and at 3-week intervals thereafter. 18 subjects were enrolled with 16 completing all headache diary, evaluation, and massage assignments. Study participants reported a median of 7.5 years with TTH. Headache frequency decreased from 4.7±0.7 episodes per week during baseline to 3.7±0.9 during treatment period 2 (P<0.001); reduction was also noted during the follow-up phase (3.2±1.0). Secondary measures of headache also decreased across the study phases with headache intensity decreasing by 30% (P<0.01) and headache duration from 4.0±1.3 to 2.8±0.5 hours (P<0.05). A corresponding improvement in Headache Disability Index was found with massage (P<0.001). This pilot study provides preliminary evidence for reduction in headache pain and disability with massage therapy that targets myofascial trigger points, suggesting the need for more rigorously controlled studies.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Headache Disability Index; Manual Therapy; Myofasical Pain; Myofascial Trigger Points
The aims of this study were to validate ecological momentary assessment (EMA) as a method for measuring exposure to tobacco-related marketing and media and to use this method to provide detailed descriptive data on college students’ exposure to protobacco marketing and media.
College students (n = 134; ages 18–24 years) recorded their exposures to protobacco marketing and media on handheld devices for 21 consecutive days. Participants also recalled exposures to various types of protobacco marketing and media at the end of the study period.
Retrospectively recalled and EMA-based estimates of protobacco marketing exposure captured different information. The correlation between retrospectively recalled and EMA-logged exposures to tobacco marketing and media was moderate (r = .37, p < .001), and EMA-logged exposures were marginally associated with the intention to smoke at the end of the study, whereas retrospective recall of exposure was not. EMA data showed that college students were exposed to protobacco marketing through multiple channels in a relatively short period: Exposures (M = 8.24, SD = 7.85) occurred primarily in the afternoon (42%), on weekends (35%), and at point-of-purchase locations (68%) or in movies/TV (20%), and exposures to Marlboro, Newport, and Camel represented 56% of all exposures combined and 70% of branded exposures.
Findings support the validity of EMA as a method for capturing detailed information about youth exposure to protobacco marketing and media that are not captured through other existing methods. Such data have the potential to highlight areas for policy change and prevention in order to reduce the impact of tobacco marketing on youth.
Despite the growing body of research on complex lifestyle behaviors (eg, Dietary Intake [DI] and Physical Activity [PA]), monitoring of these behaviors has been hampered by a lack of suitable methods. A possible solution to this deficiency is mobile-based Ecological Momentary Assessment (mEMA), which enables researchers to collect data on participants’ states in real-time by means of a smartphone application. However, feasibility, usability, and ecological validity need to be anticipated and managed in order to enhance the validity of mEMA.
To examine the feasibility, usability, and ecological validity of a mEMA application (app) with regard to DI and PA among Dutch vocational education students.
The students (n=30) participated in the mEMA study for seven consecutive days. They downloaded the mEMA app on their smartphone. Feasibility and usability of the mEMA app were evaluated by completing an online evaluation after seven days of participation. Ecological validity was measured by assessing the degree to which the content of the mEMA app approximated the real-world setting that was being examined, through several multiple-choice questions.
Compliance rates, as registered by the mEMA app, declined 46% over a seven-day period, while self-reported compliance, as measured with an online evaluation questionnaire afterwards, indicated a smaller decrease in compliance (29%). The students evaluated the mEMA app as feasible and usable. Ecological validity analyses showed that all DI and almost all PA multiple-choice options were covered with the compound response categories.
The mEMA app offers the opportunity to assess complex health behaviors (eg, DI and PA) in real-time settings, in which specifically routinized behaviors are involved. However, the mEMA app faced several challenges that needed to be overcome in order to improve its validity. Overall, the present study showed that the mEMA app is a usable and ecologically valid tool to measure DI and PA behaviors among vocational education students, but compliance is still limited.
mobile-based Ecological Momentary Assessment (mEMA); feasibility; usability; ecological validity; dietary intake; physical activity
Binge eating has been associated with increased hunger, suggesting a role for impaired appetite regulation. Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) is ideally suited to examine whether hunger is a precipitant of binge eating but results from such studies have not been systematically reviewed. This study provides a meta-analysis of EMA studies that have examined hunger as an antecedent of binge eating.
Electronic database and manual searches produced seven EMA studies with N=180 participants. Meta-analyses were conducted to compare: 1) pre-binge eating hunger to average ratings of hunger, and 2) pre-binge eating hunger to hunger before regular eating.
Across studies, hunger was significantly greater prior to binge eating compared to average hunger ratings, but was significantly lower prior to binge eating compared to before other eating episodes.
Excessive hunger does not appear to be a precipitant of binge eating because higher levels of hunger are observed before regular eating episodes. However, lower hunger prior to food consumption may contribute to the experience of a particular eating episode as a binge.
binge eating; ecological momentary assessment; hunger
Fatigue in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is usually assessed with retrospective measures rather than real-time momentary symptom assessments. In this study, the authors hypothesized that in participants with CFS, discrepancies between recalled and momentary fatigue would be related to catastrophizing, anxiety, and depression and to variability of momentary fatigue. They also expected that catastrophizing, anxiety, and depression would be associated with momentary fatigue. The authors asked 53 adults with CFS to carry electronic diaries for 3 weeks and record their experiences of momentary fatigue. The authors assessed participants' fatigue recall with weekly ratings and administered questionnaires for catastrophizing, depression, and anxiety. Recall discrepancy was significantly related to the variability of momentary fatigue. In addition, catastrophizing, depression, and momentary fatigue were all significantly related to recall discrepancy. Catastrophizing, depression, anxiety, and momentary negative affect were all significantly associated with momentary fatigue. The findings suggest that momentary fatigue in patients with CFS is related to modifiable psychological factors.
affect; chronic fatigue syndrome; fatigue; measurement; pain
Introduction: Mobile phones are ubiquitous and easy to use, and thus have the capacity to collect real-time data from large numbers of people. Research tested the feasibility and validity of an Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) self-report protocol using electronic surveys on mobile phones to assess adults’ physical activity and sedentary behaviors. Methods: Adults (N = 110; 73% female, 30% Hispanic, 62% overweight/obese) completed a 4-day signal-contingent EMA protocol (Saturday–Tuesday) with eight surveys randomly spaced throughout each day. EMA items assessed current activity (e.g., Watching TV/Movies, Reading/Computer, Physical Activity/Exercise). EMA responses were time-matched to minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary activity (SA) measured by accelerometer immediately before and after each EMA prompt. Results: Unanswered EMA prompts had greater MVPA (±15 min) than answered EMA prompts (p = 0.029) for under/normal weight participants, indicating that activity level might influence the likelihood of responding. The 15-min. intervals before versus after the EMA-reported physical activity (n = 296 occasions) did not differ in MVPA (p > 0.05), suggesting that prompting did not disrupt physical activity. SA decreased after EMA-reported sedentary behavior (n = 904 occasions; p < 0.05) for overweight and obese participants. As compared with other activities, EMA-reported physical activity and sedentary behavior had significantly greater MVPA and SA, respectively, in the ±15 min of the EMA prompt (ps < 0.001), providing evidence for criterion validity. Conclusion: Findings generally support the acceptability and validity of a 4-day signal-contingent EMA protocol using mobile phones to measure physical activity and sedentary behavior in adults. However, some MVPA may be missed among underweight and normal weight individuals.
physical activity; sedentary behavior; ecological momentary assessment; validity; adults; accelerometers
Many physical diseases have been reported to be associated with psychosocial factors. In these diseases, assessment relies mainly on subjective symptoms in natural settings. Therefore, it is important to assess symptoms and/or relationships between psychosocial factors and symptoms in natural settings. Symptoms are usually assessed by self-report when patients visit their doctors. However, self-report by recall has an intrinsic problem; "recall bias". Recently, ecological momentary assessment (EMA) has been proposed as a reliable method to assess and record events and subjective symptoms as well as physiological and behavioral variables in natural settings. Although EMA is a useful method to assess stress-related diseases, it has not been fully acknowledged, especially by clinicians. Therefore, the present brief review introduces the application and future direction of EMA for the assessment and intervention for stress-related diseases.