Internal health locus of control predicts willingness to track health behaviors online and with smartphone applications (‡).

Publication Date: 
Apr 18, 2017

Given rising technology use across all demographic groups, digital interventions offer a potential strategy for increasing access to health information and care. Research is lacking on identifying individual differences that impact willingness to use digital interventions, which may affect patient engagement. Health locus of control, the amount of control an individual believes they have over their own health, may predict willingness to use mobile health (mHealth) applications ('apps') and online trackers. A cross-sectional study (n = 276) was conducted to assess college students' health locus of control beliefs and willingness to use health apps and online trackers. Internal and powerful other health locus of control beliefs predicted willingness to use health apps and online trackers while chance health locus of control beliefs did not. Individuals with internal and powerful other health locus of control beliefs are more willing than those with chance health locus of control beliefs to utilize a form of technology to monitor or change health behaviors. Health locus of control is an easy-to-assess patient characteristic providers can measure to identify which patients are more likely to utilize mHealth apps and online trackers.