Promoting Occupational Health through Gamification and E-Coaching: A 5-Month User Engagement Study

Chao Zhang (Corresponding author), Pieter Van Gorp, M.A. Derksen, Raoul C.Y. Nuijten, Wijnand A. IJsselsteijn, Alberto Zanutto , Fabio Melilo, Roberto Pratola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


: Social gamification systems have shown potential for promoting healthy lifestyles, but applying them to occupational settings faces unique design challenges. While occupational settings offer natural communities for social interaction, fairness issues due to heterogeneous personal goals and privacy concerns increase the difficulty of designing engaging games. We explored a two-level game-design, where the first level related to achieving personal goals and the second level was a privacy-protected social competition to maximize goal compliance among colleagues. The solution was strengthened by employing occupational physicians who personalized users’ goals and coached them remotely. The design was evaluated in a 5-month study with 53 employees from a Dutch university. Results suggested that the application helped half of the participants to improve their lifestyles, and most appreciated the role of the physician in goal-setting. However, long-term user engagement was undermined by the scalability-motivated design choice of one-way communication between employees and their physician. Implications for social gamification design in occupational health are discussed
Original languageEnglish
Article number2823
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2021


  • Behavior change
  • E-coaching
  • Health informatics
  • Occupational health
  • Social gamification
  • User engagement
  • User study


Dive into the research topics of 'Promoting Occupational Health through Gamification and E-Coaching: A 5-Month User Engagement Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this