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Increasing walking among older people: A test of behaviour change techniques using factorial randomised N-of-1 trials

Lookup NU author(s): Dominika Kwasnicka


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Objective: Evaluations of techniques to promote physical activity usually adopt a randomised controlled trial (RCT). Such designs inform how a technique performs on average but cannot be used for treatment of individuals. Our objective was to conduct the first N-of-1 RCTs of behaviour change techniques with older people and test the effectiveness of the techniques for increasing walking within individuals.Design: Eight adults aged 60-87 were randomised to a 2 (goal-setting vs. active control) x 2 (self-monitoring vs. active control) factorial RCT over 62days. The time series data were analysed for each single case using linear regressions.Main outcome measures: Walking was objectively measured using pedometers.Results: Compared to control days, goal-setting increased walking in 4 out of 8 individuals and self-monitoring increased walking in 7 out of 8 individuals. While the probability for self-monitoring to be effective in 7 out of 8 participants was beyond chance (p=.03), no intervention effect was significant for individual participants. Two participants had a significant but small linear decrease in walking over time.Conclusion: We demonstrate the utility of N-of-1 trials for advancing scientific enquiry of behaviour change and in practice for increasing older people's physical activity.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Nyman SR, Goodwin K, Kwasnicka D, Callaway A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Psychology & Health

Year: 2016

Volume: 31

Issue: 3

Pages: 313-330

Print publication date: 01/01/2016

Online publication date: 21/09/2015

Acceptance date: 21/08/2015

ISSN (print): 0887-0446

ISSN (electronic): 1476-8321

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/08870446.2015.1088014


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