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EMAC 2022 Annual

Humanizing Health Apps to Promote Usage Among the Elderly: The Roles of Human-Technology Relationship and Anticipated Emotions

Published: May 24, 2022


Shuili Du, University of New Hampshire; Chunyan Xie, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences; Richard Bagozzi, University of Michigan ; Kristi Bjornes Skeie, University of Stavanger; Tatiana Iakovleva, University of Stavanger Business School together with Valide; Elin M. Oftedal, University of Stavanger


Research on how the elderly consumers evaluate and adopt technology has been very limited. This study examines how the elderly consumers evaluate a real-world eHealth app aimed at addressing malnutrition and undernutrition – a prevalent health issue among the elderly population. Through a field experiment featuring the eHealth app, we show that the elderly consumers’ attitude toward the eHealth app is driven by their perception of how the app will facilitate and enhance their relationship with the caretakers and, relatedly, the anticipated positive emotions of using the app, and that these linkages are stronger when the elderly consumers’ health literacy is high. Furthermore, results from a two-wave, longitudinal field survey featuring the same eHealth app show that these positive effects of perceived human-technology relationship and anticipated positive emotions carry over to actual behaviors of the elderly consumers’ downloading and using the health app. This study contributes to the literature on transformative consumer research by shedding light on how the elderly consumers, a severely under-researched segment, evaluate eHealth technologies.