Systematic review of Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) studies of five public health-related behaviours: Review Protocol

Dominika Kwasnicka* (Corresponding Author), Dimitra Kale, Verena Schneider, Jan Keller, Bernard Yeboah-Asiamah Asare, Daniel Powell, Felix Naughton, Gill Ten Hoor, Peter Verboon, Olga Perski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) involves repeated, real-time assessments of phenomena (e.g., cognitions, emotions, behaviours) over a period of time in naturalistic settings. EMA is increasingly used to study both within- and between-person processes. We will review EMA studies investigating key health behaviours and synthesise: 1)study characteristics (e.g., frequency of assessments, adherence, incentives), 2) associations between psychological predictors and behaviours, and 3) moderators of adherence to EMA
protocols. Methods and analysis: This review will focus on EMA studies conducted across five public health behaviours in adult, non-clinical populations: movement behaviour (including physical activity and sedentary behaviour), dietary behaviour, alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, and preventive sexual health behaviours. Studies need to have assessed at least one
psychological or contextual predictor of these behaviours. Studies reporting exclusively on physiological outcomes (e.g., cortisol) or those not conducted under free-living conditions will be excluded. We will search OVID Medline, Embase, PsycINFO and Web of Science using terms relevant to EMA and the selected health behaviours. Reference lists of existing systematic reviews of EMA studies will be hand searched. Identified articles will be screened by two reviewers. This review is expected to provide a comprehensive summary of EMA studies assessing psychological or contextual predictors of five public health behaviours.
Ethics and dissemination: The results will be disseminated through peer-reviewed
publications and presentations. Data from included studies will be made available to other researchers. No ethics are required.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Open
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 Jun 2021


  • ambulatory assessment
  • Ecological Momentary Assessment
  • EMA
  • experience sampling
  • health
  • psychology
  • systematic review
  • within-person design


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