Feasibility of Using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) With Diverse Urban Adults: Before and After Data on Perceived Acceptability, Barriers, and Ease of Use

Zenk, Shannon N.; Schulz, Amy J.; Odoms-Young, Angela M.; Wilbur, JoEllen; Matthews, Stephen; Gamboa, Cindy; Wegrzyn, Lani R.; Hobson, Susan; Stokes, Carmen
September 2012
Journal of Physical Activity & Health;Sep2012, Vol. 9 Issue 7, p924
Academic Journal
Background: Global positioning systems (GPS) have emerged as a research tool to better understand environmental influences on physical activity. This study examined the feasibility of using GPS in terms of perceived acceptability, barriers, and ease of use in a racially/ethnically diverse sample of lower socioeconomic position (SEP). Methods: Data were from 2 pilot studies involving a total of 170 African American, Hispanic, and White urban adults with a mean (standard deviation) age of 47.8 (±13.1) years. Participants wore a GPS for up to 7 days. They answered questions about GPS acceptability, barriers (wear-related concerns), and ease of use before and after wearing the GPS. Results: We found high ratings of GPS acceptability and ease of use and low levels of wear-related concerns, which were maintained after data collection. While most were comfortable with their movements being tracked, older participants (P < .05) and African Americans (P < .05) reported lower comfort levels. Participants who were younger, with higher education, and low incomes were more likely to indicate that the GPS made the study more interesting (P < .05). Participants described technical and wear-related problems, but few concerns related to safety, loss, or appearance. Conclusions: Use of GPS was feasible in this racially/ethnically diverse, lower SEP sample.


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