Effect of Posture Feedback Training on Health

Abstract

Collapsed or slouching posture has been associated with negative health outcomes such as pain, depression, and overall stress ratings as well as declines in general health, emotional well-being, and energy/fatigue levels. Currently, wearable devices and accompanying smartphone applications (apps) can provide feedback about shifting posture (e.g., erect vs. collapsed or slouching positions), as well as provide suggestions that support positive posture awareness. This study investigates the effect of a wearable ‘UpRight’ posture-feedback device on self-reports of pain, mood, and performance in comparison to a non-treatment control group. 56 Student participants filled out the SF-36 RAND Health Survey at the beginning and end of the 4-week study. The treatment group (n = 13) used a wearable device for at least 15 min per day, for 4 weeks, while a matched comparison group (n = 13) participated without the device over the same period. Evaluations before and after the 4 weeks included the SF-36, as well as qualitative descriptions of their experiences. The treatment group significantly improved on the SF-36 measures of physical functioning, emotions, energy/fatigue, confidence and overall stress ratings, as well as on subjective ratings of neck and back posture as compared to the control group. The wearable biofeedback device positively influenced awareness of neck and back posture, as well as key measures on the RAND SF-36 Health Survey. This study provides preliminary support that a wearable posture feedback device is a useful tool to teach posture awareness and improve well-being.

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Acknowledgements

The authors want to thank Professor Andrasik for his editorial feedback and direction.

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Correspondence to Erik Peper.

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Erik Peper received a donation of 15 UpRight devices for use in the classroom setting. The other authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

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Harvey, R.H., Peper, E., Mason, L. et al. Effect of Posture Feedback Training on Health. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 45, 59–65 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-020-09457-0

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Keywords

  • Posture
  • Wearables
  • Biofeedback
  • Health
  • Awareness