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HASCI study – Healthy, Active and Sustainable Commuting Intervention

Active commuting habits

Active commuting, that is, walking, cycling, and public transport use for work transportation purposes, has the potential to contribute to physical activity promotion and environment protection, and thus addresses the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). How individuals commute to work is a highly automatized and habitual process, which many individuals carry out frequently and without thinking about it. Based on previous research, an established habit can be substituted by a new habit by repeatedly executing a new behavior in the same context (habit substitution). To date, longitudinal designs from habit formation studies focused on the formation of new habits in the context of healthy nutrition and physical exercises, however, habit substitution remained an under-studied issue in habit research. Active commuting provides an optimal context to examine how an old and less active habit (e.g., using the car) can be substituted by a new active commuting habit.

 

Aims:

The present study aims at examining contextual and psychological predictors of habit substitution within the context of active commuting and by using Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) methods. Participants are asked to plan a more active commuting behavior and to perform their planned commuting behavior for the entire study period of 96 days. To examine predictors of habit substitution, participants will be followed up in six 4-day (i.e., at work days) waves of EMAs with 3 assessments on each day: before commuting to work, after commuting to work, and in the end of the day. Prior to each wave, participants complete a larger questionnaire. Intervals between waves will be 2 weeks. During each wave, objective and passive measures of physical activity are measured using accelerometers. The primary outcome of the study is automaticity of the new commuting behavior across the 96-day study period, which serves as an indicator of habit formation. Secondary outcomes include – among others – daily physical activity, mode of transport, automaticity of the prior commuting behavior, as well as momentary positive and negative affect.

Study team:

Sally di Maio (sally.dimaio@fu-berlin.de)

Lea Wilhelm (Medical School Berlin; lea.wilhelm@medicalschool-berlin.de)

Dr. Jan Keller (jan.keller@fu-berlin.de)

Antonia Domke (a.domke@fu-berlin.de)

Prof. Dr. Nina Knoll (nina.knoll@fu-berlin.de)

 

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