Feasibility and Effectiveness of a Web-Based Physical Activity Intervention for Working Mothers

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility and effectiveness of a web-based intervention to promote physical activity and self-worth among working mothers.

Methods:

Participants (N = 69) were randomly assigned to receive a standard web-based intervention or an enhanced intervention that included group dynamics strategies to promote engagement. The 8-week intervention was guided by self-determination theory. Each week, participants were instructed to complete 3 tasks: listen to a podcast related to well-being, complete a workbook assignment, and communicate with other participants on a discussion board. Participants in the enhanced condition received an additional weekly task to enhance group cohesion. Data were collected at baseline, week 8, and week 16.

Results:

Physical activity (P < .001, η2 = 0.35) and self-worth (P < .001, η2 = 0.39) increased significantly in both groups following the intervention, and introjected (P < .001, η2 = 0.30) and external motivation (P = .04, η2 = 0.10) decreased. Website use declined across the 8-week intervention in both groups (P < .001, η2 = 0.48); however, discussion board use was higher in the enhanced condition (P = .04, η2 = 0.21).

Conclusions:

These findings suggest web-based interventions can improve physical activity and self-worth among working mothers. Group dynamics strategies only minimally enhanced user engagement, and future studies are needed to optimize web-based intervention designs.

Mailey and Irwin are with the Dept of Kinesiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS. Huberty is with the Dept of Exercise and Wellness, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ.

Mailey (emailey@ksu.edu) is corresponding author.