Background: Chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes that are often related to weight, and unhealthy lifestyles are becoming more common with some researchers even speaking of epidemics. mHealth technology combined with social comparison might help many people to become more active and healthier.
Objective: This literature review aims to research the current use of the social comparison theory in mHealth research.
Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted in six electronic databases (ProQuest, Scopus, PubMed, ScienceDirect, ACM Digital Library and IEEExplore). After applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 23 qualified papers were evaluated.
Results: The majority of research was conducted in the context of fitness apps with the purpose of fighting obesity and physical inactivity. The mHealth research is largely carried out on smartphones due to low cost and simplicity compared to activity trackers. Therefore, social comparison theory was mainly applied as a persuasive behaviour change technique (e.g. leaderboards).
Conclusion: We conclude that social comparison features have a high potential in mHealth applications but are still in a trial phase regarding the extent and the possibilities to give the user maximum enjoyment and satisfaction. ... mehrHowever, the observed users felt more motivated by other behaviour change techniques such as goal-setting, feedback and self-control.