Psychological mechanisms in a digital intervention to improve physical activity: A multicentre randomized controlled trial

Ralf Schwarzer , Lisa Marie Warner , Lena Fleig , Maryam Gholami , Sergio Salvatore , Luisella Cianferotti , Evangelia Ntzani , Blanca Roman-Viñas , Antonia Trichopoulou , Maria L. Brandi


Abstract Objectives The randomized controlled trial examined factors that might be responsible for individual differences in physical activity change among men and women who participated in a lifestyle intervention. The main purpose of the analyses regarded the role of psychological mechanisms involving motivation, planning, self-monitoring, and habit strength. Design A two-arm digital intervention was conducted in Italy, Spain, and Greece to improve physical activity levels, with follow-ups at 3 and 6 months after baseline assessment. Methods Participants were 1,564 adults at baseline, n = 638 at 6-month follow-up. Linear mixed models examined the intervention effects, and a two-group longitudinal structural equation model explored which psychological constructs (motivation, planning, self-monitoring, habit strength) were associated with changes in physical activity. Results In addition to an overall increase in self-reported activity, there were interactions between time and sex and between time and experimental groups, and a triple interaction between time, sex, and experimental groups, indicating that men reported an increase in activity independent of groups, whereas women in the active control group did not benefit from the intervention. Planning, self-monitoring, and habit strength mediated sequentially between initial motivation and follow-up physical activity. Conclusions Although the intervention produced overall improvements in physical activity, the time-by-treatment interaction emerged only for women. The mechanism included a sequence leading from motivation via planning, self-monitoring, and habit strength towards physical activity.
Author Ralf Schwarzer (Filia we Wrocławiu / II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Ralf Schwarzer,,
- II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
, Lisa Marie Warner
Lisa Marie Warner,,
, Lena Fleig
Lena Fleig,,
, Maryam Gholami
Maryam Gholami,,
, Sergio Salvatore
Sergio Salvatore,,
, Luisella Cianferotti
Luisella Cianferotti,,
, Evangelia Ntzani
Evangelia Ntzani,,
, Blanca Roman-Viñas
Blanca Roman-Viñas,,
, Antonia Trichopoulou
Antonia Trichopoulou,,
, Maria L. Brandi
Maria L. Brandi,,
Journal seriesBritish Journal of Health Psychology, ISSN 1359-107X, (A 35 pkt)
Issue year2018
Publication size in sheets0.7
ASJC Classification3202 Applied Psychology; 2700 General Medicine
Languageen angielski
Schwarzer_et_al-2018-British_Journal_of_Health_Psychology.pdf 361.47 KB
Additional file
Oświadczenie_publ_Schwarzer_DIGsigned.pdf 275.57 KB
Score (nominal)35
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2017 = 1.457; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 2.706 (2) - 2017=3.197 (5)
Citation count*6 (2021-02-25)
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