The concept and components of engagement in different domains applied to ehealth: A systematic scoping review

Saskia M. Kelders*, Llewellyn Ellardus Van Zyl, Geke D.S. Ludden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


Within the context of eHealth interventions, a shared understanding of what constitutes engagement in and with eHealth technologies is missing. A clearer understanding of engagement could provide a valuable starting point for guidelines relating to the design and development of eHealth technologies. Given the cross-disciplinary use of the term “engagement,” investigating how engagement (and its components) is conceptualized in different domains could lead to determining common components that are deemed important for eHealth technological design. As such, the aim of this paper was 3-fold: (a) to investigate in which domains engagement features, (b) to determine what constitutes engagement in these different domains, and (c) to determine whether there are any common components that seem to be important. A comprehensive systematic scoping review of the existing literature was conducted in order to identify the domains in which engagement is used, to extract the associated definitions of engagement, and to identify the dimensionality or components thereof. A search of five bibliographic databases yielded 1,231 unique records. All titles, abstracts, and full texts were screened based on specific inclusion and exclusion criteria. This led to 69 articles being included for further analyses. The results showed that engagement is used in seven functional domains, categorized as follows: Student (n=18), customer (n=12), health (n =11), society (n=10), work (n=9), digital (n=8), and transdisciplinary (n=1) domains. It seems that some domains are more mature regarding their conceptualization and theorizing on engagement than others. Further, engagement was found to be predominantly conceptualized as a multidimensional construct with three common components (behavior, cognition, and affective) shared between domains. Although engagement is prolifically used in different disciplines, it is evident that little shared consensus as to its conceptualization within and between domains exists. Despite this, engagement is foremost seen as a state of being engaged in/with something, which is part of, but should not be confused with, the process of engagement. Behavior, cognition, and affect are important components of engagement and should be specified for each new context.

Original languageEnglish
Article number926
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in psychology
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2020


  • EHealth
  • Engagement
  • MHealth
  • Positive organizational e-interventions
  • Systematic scoping review


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