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Effect of Adding Online Social Support Tools to an Adult Walking Program: Randomized Controlled Trial1441 Board #234 May 28, 900 AM - 1030 AM

Monroe, Courtney M.; Thompson, Dixie L. FACSM; Bassett, David R. Jr. FACSM; Fitzhugh, Eugene C.; Raynor, Hollie A.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2015 - Volume 47 - Issue 5S - p 388
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000466062.73312.25
C-39 Free Communication/Poster - Physical Activity Promotion Programming in Adults Thursday, May 28, 2015, 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM Room: Exhibit Hall F

1University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. 2University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.


(No relationships reported)

The lack of physical activity (PA) among U.S. adults is substantial. Online communities have the potential to positively impact adults’ PA levels.

PURPOSE: This randomized controlled trial examined the effect of providing access to online social support tools on step counts and presumed mediators of PA behavior change during an Internet-mediated walking intervention rooted in the social cognitive theory (SCT).

METHODS: Sixty-three insufficiently active adults (56 women and 7 men, 48.2 ± 10.4 y) were randomly assigned to engage in a 12-week walking intervention with (TRT) or without (CON) access to online social support. Both groups received an Omron HJ-720ITC pedometer, step goals, access to two websites (CourseSitesTM, which contained SCT components, and Omron FitnessTM) and access to the Blackboard Mobile LearnTM smartphone application. The TRT group also received access to online social support tools via CourseSites. Participants uploaded daily steps online, and validated questionnaires were used to measure their social support, self-regulation, self-efficacy, and outcome expectations at baseline and 12 weeks. A mixed-factor ANOVA was conducted to examine changes in daily steps and psychosocial variables.

RESULTS: Using intention-to-treat analysis, both groups increased (p < 0.001) their daily steps from baseline (TRT: 4384.0 ± 1489.4 and CON: 4739.7 ± 1148.0) to 12 weeks (TRT: 5785.4 ± 1897.1 and CON: 7200.5 ± 2516.5), but there was no difference between groups. Using completers analysis (N = 46), both groups reported a similar increase in exercise goal setting and family social support (p < 0.05). A group by time interaction was found for exercise planning (p < 0.05). The CON group reported an increase in exercise planning, while the TRT group experienced no change. Both groups had a similar decrease in exercise self-efficacy (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: When insufficiently active adults are given access to online social support tools as part of a theory-based, Internet-mediated walking program, it does not lead to an enhanced increase in daily steps and social support relative to an identical intervention without online social support tools. Applying additional strategies, such as giving formal training on the use of such tools and/or building on existing social ties, is an approach worthy of future research.

© 2015 American College of Sports Medicine