Mobile Sensor Device Effectively Monitors Sociability

Mobile sensors' data for behavior correlate highly with results of established questionnaires

TUESDAY, July 12 (HealthDay News) -- Sociability and physical activity data from mobile-sensor devices in older adults correlate well with data from traditional questionnaires, according to a study published in the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Ethan M. Berke, M.D., M.P.H., from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Lebanon, N.H., and colleagues assessed the feasibility of using a mobile wireless device to measure sociability and physical activity in older adults, and they compared results with the outcome of traditional questionnaires. A sample of eight men and women, 65 years or older, wore a mobile device containing sensors that continuously captured data related to behavior, physical activity, and environment. The time spent walking, remaining stationary, and speaking was measured by the sensors. The participants also answered four traditional questionnaires: the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), the Yale Physical Activity Survey (YPAS), the Center for Epidemiologic StudiesDepression (CES-D) scale, and the Friendship Scale.

The investigators found that men spent 64.4 percent of their time stationary, and 21.3 percent of their time walking. Women spent 62.0 percent of their time stationary, and 20.7 percent of their time walking. Device-sensed physical activity correlated significantly with average YPAS scores. Time-sensed speaking correlated positively and significantly with the mental component score of the SF-36, and social interaction assessed with the Friendship Scale, and showed a trend toward correlation with CES-D score. After adjusting for all variables, sensed time for speaking correlated with SF-36 mental component score, Friendship Scale score, and CES-D score.

"Data from mobile sensors for behavior correlated highly with the results obtained with established questionnaires, including measures of depressive symptoms, in older adults," the authors write.

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