Psychosocial Mediators of Physical Activity in a Randomized Controlled Intervention Trial

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Behavioral science theories have been used to develop physical activity interventions; however, little is known as to whether these interventions are effective due to changes in constructs related to these theories. Specifically, if the intervention is successful, does it work for the reasons hypothesized by the theory underlying it? The purpose of this study was to examine the importance of particular theoretical constructs among participants (n = 150) who had been randomly assigned to a physical activity intervention based on the Transtheoretical Model and Social Cognitive Theory (i.e., tailored group) or to a standard care group. Participants in the tailored group reported greater increases in behavioral processes and self-efficacy from baseline to 3 months than participants in the standard-care group. No between-group differences were found for cognitive processes and decisional balance. This study demonstrates that theory-based physical activity interventions may be effective through changes in particular theoretical constructs.

The authors are (*were) with Brown Medical School and The Miriam Hospital, Centers for Behavioral & Preventive Medicine, Coro Bldg., Suite 500, One Hoppin St., Providence, RI 02903. *Beth Lewis is now with HealthPartners Research Foundation, 8100 34th Ave S., Minneapolis, MN 55440-1524; *LeighAnn Forsyth is now in private practice, 12429 Cedar Road, Suite 9, Cleveland Heights, OH 44106.