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  • Author: Thelma J. Mielenz x
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Thelma J. Mielenz, Michael C. Edwards and Leigh F. Callahan

Benefits of physical activity for those with arthritis are clear, yet physical activity is difficult to initiate and maintain. Self-efficacy is a key modifiable psychosocial determinant of physical activity. This study examined two scales for self-efficacy for exercise behavior (SEEB) to identify their strengths and weaknesses using item response theory (IRT) from community-based randomized controlled trials of physical activity programs in adults with arthritis. The 2 SEEB scales included the 9-item scale by Resnick developed with older adults and the 5-item scale by Marcus developed with employed adults. All IRT analyses were conducted using the graded-response model. IRT assumptions were assessed using both exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. The IRT analyses indicated that these scales are precise and reliable measures for identifying people with arthritis and low SEEB. The Resnick SEEB scale is slightly more precise at lower levels of self-efficacy in older adults with arthritis.

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Leigh F. Callahan, Rebecca J. Cleveland, Jack Shreffler, Jennifer M. Hootman, Thelma J. Mielenz, Britta Schoster, Teresa Brady and Todd Schwartz

Background:

Adults with arthritis can benefit from participation in physical activity and may be assisted by organized programs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a 20-week behavioral lifestyle intervention, Active Living Every Day (ALED), for improvements in primary outcomes (physical activity levels, aerobic endurance, function, symptoms).

Methods:

A 20-week randomized controlled community trial was conducted in 354 adults. Outcomes were assessed at baseline and 20 weeks in the intervention and wait-list control groups. The intervention group was also assessed at 6 and 12 months. Mean outcomes were determined by multilevel regression models in the intervention and control groups at follow-up points.

Results:

At 20 weeks, the intervention group significantly increased participation in physical activity, and improved aerobic endurance, and select measures of function while pain, fatigue and stiffness remained status quo. In the intervention group, significant improvements in physical activity at 20 weeks were maintained at 6 and 12 months, and stiffness decreased.

Conclusions:

ALED appears to improve participation in physical activity, aerobic endurance, and function without exacerbating disease symptoms in adults with arthritis.