Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences

Advisor 1

Erich Petushek

Committee Member 1

Eva Ageberg

Committee Member 2

Steven Elmer

Committee Member 3

Kevin Trewartha


Exercise interventions hold promise for preventing and treating numerous conditions, diseases, and injuries. However, these interventions will only be effective if they are being used. Unfortunately, uptake and adherence to prescribed exercise and physical activity guidelines are insufficient. Some reasons for this include lack of knowledge, resources, flexibility, and enjoyment. Exercise program developers need to not only consider the effectiveness of the program during the development phase, but also involve end-users and receive feedback on program usability to determine likelihood of uptake and adoption. Usability testing can be used to detect barriers to use and implementation likelihood but has not yet been utilized within the domain of exercise-based interventions. The goal of this research was to better characterize and quantify exercise program usability to promote the design of more usable exercise programs. In the first study, a modified usability scale was used to assess and identify important program characteristics and their relationship to female handball players’ intention to use a newly developed anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury prevention program (IPP). Study 2 involved a mixed methods approach to gain deeper insight into factors affecting use of an IPP and the relationship between perceived program characteristics and effectiveness of the program utilizing interviews with coaches and players, and surveys. From study 1 and 2, results indicated that perceived effectiveness, enjoyability, efficiency and flexibility affected players’ and coaches’ intention and willingness to continue using the IPP. Building on these findings, the Intervention Usability Scale for Exercise (IUSE) was developed and validated in study 3. Exercise intervention stakeholders and target users of an exercise program contributed to item generation and content validation. Subsequently, a large sample of target users used the full scale to assess the usability of an exercise program. Following an extensive data analysis process, the 8-item IUSE indicated good psychometrics properties. Collectively, this research sought to improve exercise program usability by developing a tool exercise intervention developers can utilize as part of their program development and assessment process. Future studies should evaluate the predictive utility of the scale on actual uptake and adherence to an exercise intervention.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.