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Diane K. Ehlers and Jennifer L. Huberty

Background:

The purpose of this study was to describe which theory-based behavioral and technological features middle-aged women prefer to be included in a mobile application designed to help them adopt and maintain regular physical activity (PA).

Methods:

Women aged 30 to 64 years (N = 120) completed an online survey measuring their demographics and mobile PA application preferences. The survey was developed upon behavioral principles of Social Cognitive Theory, recent mobile app research, and technology adoption principles of the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology. Frequencies were calculated and content analyses conducted to identify which features women most preferred.

Results:

Behavioral features that help women self-regulate their PA (PA tracking, goal-setting, progress monitoring) were most preferred. Technological features that enhance perceived effort expectancy and playfulness were most preferred. Many women reported the desire to interact and compete with others through the application.

Conclusions:

Theory-based PA self-regulation features and theory-based design features that improve perceived effort expectancy and playfulness may be most beneficial in a mobile PA application for middleaged women. Opportunities to interact with other people and the employment of social, game-like activities may also be attractive. Interdisciplinary engagement of experts in PA behavior change, technology adoption, and software development is needed.

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Diane K. Ehlers, Jennifer Huberty, Matthew Buman, Steven Hooker, Michael Todd and Gert-Jan de Vreede

Background:

Commercially available mobile and Internet technologies present a promising opportunity to feasibly conduct ecological momentary assessment (EMA). The purpose of this study was to describe a novel EMA protocol administered on middle-aged women’s smartphones via text messaging and mobile Internet.

Methods:

Women (N = 9; mean age = 46.2 ± 8.2 y) received 35 text message prompts to a mobile survey assessing activity, self-worth, and self-efficacy over 14 days. Prompts were scheduled and surveys were administered using commercial, Internet-based programs. Prompting was tailored to each woman’s daily wake/sleep schedule. Women concurrently wore a wrist-worn accelerometer. Feasibility was assessed via survey completion, accelerometer wear, participant feedback, and researcher notes.

Results:

Of 315 prompted surveys, 287 responses were valid (91.1%). Average completion time was 1.52 ± 1.03 minutes. One participant’s activity data were excluded due to accelerometer malfunction, resulting in complete data from 8 participants (n = 252 [80.0%] valid observations). Women reported the survey was easily and quickly read/completed. However, most thought the accelerometer was inconvenient.

Conclusions:

High completion rates and perceived usability suggest capitalizing on widely available technology and tailoring prompting schedules may optimize EMA in middle-aged women. However, researchers may need to carefully select objective monitors to maintain data validity while limiting participant burden.

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Susan Aguiñaga, Diane K. Ehlers, Elizabeth A. Salerno, Jason Fanning, Robert W. Motl and Edward McAuley

Background: Late-life depression and anxiety among older adults is an important public health concern. This study examined the effect of a DVD-delivered exercise intervention on the secondary outcomes of depression and anxiety in older adults and the extent to which physical self-worth mediated the relationship between leisure-time physical activity and depression and anxiety. Methods: Older adults (N = 307) were randomized to a 6-month flexibility, toning, and balance DVD (FlexToBa™, FTB) or healthy aging DVD control. Self-reported physical activity and questionnaires were administered at baseline and postintervention. Statistical analyses were conducted in the total sample and in a subsample of participants with elevated levels of depression or anxiety. Results: FTB participants with elevated depression and anxiety symptoms at baseline had significantly greater reductions in depression and anxiety (d = 1.66 and 2.90) than the control condition (d = 0.77 and 0.73). The effect of physical activity on depression and anxiety was partially mediated by increases in physical self-worth in the total sample but not in those with elevated depression or anxiety. Conclusion: A home-based physical activity intervention may be a viable treatment for reducing depression and anxiety in older adults with elevated baseline scores.

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Jason Fanning, Elizabeth A. Awick, Thomas R. Wójcicki, Neha Gothe, Sarah Roberts, Diane K. Ehlers, Robert W. Motl and Edward McAuley

Background:

Previous research supports the efficacy of a 6-month DVD-delivered program for enhancing physical activity (PA) in older adults. In the current study, we examined the degree to which intervention-related increases in PA were maintained after a 6-month, no-contact follow-up.

Methods:

Follow-up assessments of PA via accelerometry and the Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire (GLTEQ) were collected in a sample of older adults (N = 238). Repeated measures analyses of variance were conducted to examine changes in PA over the course of the follow-up period.

Results:

For accelerometer measured PA, there was a significant time × treatment × age group interaction, F 1,203 =11.319, P = .001, η2 = .053, such that younger (≤70 years) intervention participants maintained high levels of PA across the follow-up period, while PA in older intervention and young control participants declined significantly. Rates of PA in older control participants remained low over the course of the follow-up period. Analyses of GLTEQ scores revealed similar, though less significant patterns.

Conclusions:

DVD-based exercise programs may be effective for maintaining PA in younger members of the older adult population; however, there remains a need to develop better strategies for promoting PA maintenance in older individuals when using home-based designs.