The effects of physical activity vignettes on physical activity-related social cognitions among people with spinal cord injury Academic Article uri icon

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  • Purpose

    The purpose of this study was to explore the effectiveness of informational portrait vignettes for enhancing physical activity-related psychosocial cognitions in adults with spinal cord injury (n = 90).


    Using the Health Action Process Approach (HAPA), participants were classified as being in the motivational or volitional phase of behavior change. Half of the participants were randomly allocated to read an experimental vignette, which described the physical activity behaviours, thoughts, and feelings of a character demographically similar to the reader. The remainder read a control vignette. Social cognitions were measured one-week before, and immediately after reading the vignette.


    Analyses revealed no significant effects of the vignettes on social cognitions (p > 0.05).


    Informational portrait vignettes describing a physically active person with SCI and targeting multiple HAPA-based social cognitions are not recommended as a physical activity promotional strategy for people with SCI. The effectiveness of other types of vignettes should be examined.

    Implications for rehabilitation

    Until further research is completed to determine whether social comparison strategies play a meditational role in accounting for the impact of a tailored informational portrait vignette to alter leisure time physical activity among those with spinal cord injury, these types of informational intervention should not be utilized in a rehabilitation, or real-world, setting. Although informational portrait vignettes may not be effective in altering leisure time physical activity social cognitions among those with spinal cord injury, different types of vignettes, such as composite vignettes, should be explored.

publication date

  • December 2013