Evaluation of Active Transition, a Website-Delivered Physical Activity Intervention for University Students: Pilot Study Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • BACKGROUND: While physical activity in individuals tends to decline steadily with age, there are certain periods where this decline occurs more rapidly, such as during early adulthood. Interventions aimed at attenuating the declines in physical activity during this transition period appear warranted. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the study was to test the feasibility and efficacy of a theoretically informed, website-delivered physical activity intervention aimed at students entering university. METHODS: Using a quasi-experimental design, 65 participants (44 females; mean age 18.51, SD 0.91) were assigned to either an intervention (receiving website access plus weekly prompts) or comparison condition (receiving unprompted website access only), completing questionnaires at baseline and follow-up 8 weeks later. The intervention website, "Active Transition", was specifically designed to target students' physical activity cognitions and self-regulatory skills. RESULTS: Intervention usage was low, with only 47% (18/38) of participants assigned to the intervention condition logging into the website 2 or more times. Among the broader student sample, there were significant declines in students' physical activity behaviors (F1,63=18.10, P<.001), attitudes (F1,62=55.19, P<.001), and perceived behavioral control (F1,62 =17.56, P<.001). In comparisons between intervention users (29/65, individuals logging in 2 or more times) and non-users (36/65, individuals logging in once or not at all), there was a significant interaction effect for intervention usage and time on perceived behavioral control (F1,62=5.13, P=.03). CONCLUSIONS: Poor intervention usage suggests that future efforts need to incorporate innovative strategies to increase intervention uptake and better engage the student population. The findings, however, suggest that a website-delivered intervention aimed at this critical life stage may have positive impact on students' physical activity cognitions. Future studies with more rigorous sampling designs are required.

publication date

  • April 29, 2013