Scientists develop eWatch to study psychosocial stressNovember 14th, 2007 - 2:24 am ICT by admin
Previous studies have determined that people who report highly stressful lifestyles may develop higher rates of a variety of illnesses, ranging from viral infection to heart disease, but measuring exposure to stress is problematic.
However, Pittsburgh University Psychology Professor Thomas Kamarck Kamarck says traditional methods of measuring life stress don’t quantify the duration or intensity of exposure effectively.
“For example, a husband and wife may react to the death of the same relative very differently,” he said.
“Furthermore, stress is an ongoing fluctuating process. At what point does a stressor begin or end,” he added.
In the new study, Kamarck will outfit each participant with an eWatch, which can sense sound, motion, ambient light, skin temperature and other factors that provide clues about the wearer’s location, health status and current activity. Every 45 minutes over the course of five days, the eWatch will prompt wearers to take part in a 2-to-3-minute interview. The instrument will record their response to questions about their current activities, such as “Working hard?” and “Working fast?” By the end of the study, several hundred people will have tested the eWatch.
Previous research has shown that responses to such interviews help predict who will show higher rates of plaque development in the arteries, a risk factor for heart attack or stroke. Using interviews in real time allows researchers to quantify how stressors affect one’s daily life, as well as to pinpoint when these effects begin and when they end.
Use of the eWatch technology should assist researchers in finding the optimal method for responding to such interviews during daily activities, whether by pressing a button, moving the wrist or speaking into a wireless ear bug device. Environmental data collected by the eWatch also may assist the researchers in characterizing the types of environments people find most stressful, so that their location, such as home or work, may be recorded automatically.
“We want to capture a slice of life in people’s daily routine,” says Kamarck. “We hope that these new tools will allow us to do so while minimizing disruptions imposed by the act of measurement.”
First developed in 2004 as a class project at Carnegie Mellon, the eWatch has been the subject of a number of studies in which it has shown itself capable of monitoring behaviours and conditions.
“This new study is important in eWatch’s development because it requires that we simplify the device’s operation,” Siewiorek said.
“The eWatch must be simple enough to be used by anyone who wears it, even those who are not technically savvy. And we need to develop manuals and written procedures that will make it possible for other research groups to use it to gather data for their own studies,” he added. (ANI)
- King Pnguins find human presence stressful - Jul 11, 2012
- For teens online tagged photos more precious than actual ones - May 10, 2011
- Stress likely to reduce brain size of preterm babies - Oct 04, 2011
- Online searchers can help strangers make sense of data - May 08, 2012
- Now, robot that serves tasty treats - Oct 19, 2009
- Repeated stress in pregnancy ups risk of behavior problems in kids - Apr 21, 2011
- Get married, drink wine to live longer - Oct 21, 2011
- Does membership of elite group shore up performance? - Apr 25, 2012
- New fluorescent biosensor to aid drug development - Jul 30, 2010
- Beautiful people are more selfish: Study - Aug 15, 2011
- Victimized kids exposed to disasters 'face mental health issues' - Aug 27, 2010
- Lesbians, gays, bisexuals at higher risk for severe mental health problems - Feb 03, 2011
- 'Smiling speeds recovery from stress' - Jul 31, 2012
- Sri Lankan children affected by war, tsunami, daily stressors: Study - Jul 15, 2010
- Keep wrinkles at bay, protect skin from childhood - May 11, 2012
Tags: ambient light, asim smailagic, carnegie mellon, computer interaction institute, ewatch, heart attack, heart disease, human computer interaction, life stress, minute interview, pittsburgh university, professor thomas, psychology professor, psychosocial stress, research professor, s college, skin temperature, sound motion, stressful lifestyles, university psychology