Purpose: To compare a weight training alone treatment (WT) to an innovative WT plus education treatment (WT + ED) about the use of strength-training gains when performing activities of daily living (ADL) with respect to their effects on ADL self-efficacy and performance.
Methods: Twenty-three men and 41 women (mean age = 74.4 ± 3.7 yr) were randomly assigned to WT or WT + ED. Both groups performed 12 wk (two sessions per week) of WT targeting eight major muscle groups. WT + ED received behavioral training and associated written materials emphasizing the link between WT and ADL. WT received a placebo educational intervention. Baseline and posttest measures were collected for self-efficacy for performing eight lab-based ADL tasks and performance of the eight ADL tasks. A manipulation check compared participants’ knowledge of ADL that might be improved through WT.
Results: The WT + ED treatment listed more ADL that could be improved with WT and had greater posttest self-efficacy for performing the ADL lab tasks than the WT treatment. Greater ADL self-efficacy did not translate into better ADL performance.
Conclusions: A targeted educational intervention can help older adults generalize the benefits and confidence obtained through WT to their performance of ADL. Further research is needed to determine the behavioral and psychosocial impact of enhanced ADL self-efficacy on older adults.