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Wellbeing and Fitness Study 2021

Have you ever wondered how the Step Count Challenge actually benefits you and your health - both physically and mentally?

Published: 10/02/2021

Spring 2021 - Step Count Challenge Research

Thank you for your interest in this study. 

What is this study about and who is running it? 

This study is about how participation in the Step Count Challenge impacts people’s health and wellbeing. It's being conducted as part of my (Sam Warne) PhD project and supervised by Drs Gozde Ozakinci and James Ainge from the Schools of Medicine and Psychology & Neuroscience at the University of St Andrews, in collaboration with Paths for All.     

Do I have to take part?

No - it's completely up to you to decide. This information is to help you decide if you would like to take part. You are welcome to choose to participate in both the Mental Wellbeing and Physical Fitness components of the study or just one of the two, should you choose to participate at all. 

How long does it take to complete?   

Each task should take no more than 5 minutes, but repeated a number of times. We would ask you to complete the physical task on three occasions during the challenge, and the mental wellbeing scale fortnightly throughout.

 What does it involve? 

The first component of the research is about physical fitness, and requires you to stand on the spot and march as quickly as you can for two minutes, raising your knees to almost hip height, counting the number of times that your right foot touches the floor as a way of scoring. We will ask you to complete this task 3 times during the Step Count Challenge. Secondly, for the mental wellbeing component, we will ask you to complete the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (Short) - a questionnaire consisting of 7 statements, rating each one from 1-5 based on how you feel.

Will my participation be confidential?   

Yes. Your participation will only be known to yourself and those at Paths for All.  

Will my answers be anonymous?    

To participate you will have to be logged into your Step Count Challenge account, but the researchers will not have access to your name or contact information. Your responses will be anonymised by Paths for All before the researchers receive the data (Wellbeing and Fitness scores, Step Counts, Age and Gender), so it would be impossible by any simple means for us to link responses to specific individuals. This means that while Paths for All will know that you participated, we the researchers will see only your responses and basic demographic data (Age and Gender). The participant numbers will be deleted from the dataset during processing making the data completely anonymous, which means no-one, including the researchers, could use any reasonably available means to identify you from the data.

What data will you collect from me?   

The research team will be recording and receiving the following data:

  • Your reported Step Counts
  • Your Age and Gender
  • Your Mental Wellbeing Scale results
  • Your Physical Fitness Test results

These will be used to help answer our research questions, by looking at how engagement with the Step Count Challenge and number of steps taken has a relationship with health and wellbeing.

How will my data be securely stored, who will have access to it?

Your un-anonymised data will remain kept by Paths for All, and will not be provided to the researchers. Paths for All will provide the research team with an anonymised dataset consisting of the information listed above, which will be stored in a password-protected file on a password-protected computer, and only the researcher and the supervisory team will be able to access it for processing and analysis. The data will be stored and shared between the named researchers using secure university servers, and kept indefinitely, for a minimum of 10 years.

Can I withdraw my data?

All participants are free to withdraw at any time by not completing any further tasks, and if you wish to remove any data provided until that point, you can request this action by getting in touch with Paths for All by email at, before midday on 09/07/2021. This will be the final point for withdrawal, as after this your data will be anonymised and we will not be able to identify your responses.

Are there any risks?

The physical fitness component of this research will require two minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Please only participate in this element of the research if you are comfortable with that and remember you can stop at any stage and withdraw from that element of the study. The other component of the study is mental wellbeing. Using a scale, we will ask you to think about aspects of your own mental wellbeing, which you may feel incite negative memories, thoughts or feelings. Again, you can withdraw at any stage if you feel uncomfortable without providing a reason.

What should I do if I have concerns about this study?   

In the first instance you are encouraged to raise your concerns with the researcher and if you do not feel comfortable doing so, then you should contact Paths for All at A full outline of the procedures governed by the University Teaching and Research Ethics Committee is available at   

Contact details

Samuel Warne -

Gozde Ozakinci -
James Ainge -