Physical Activity in Women. Effects of a Self-Regulation Intervention

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Background: A physically active lifestyle during midlife is critical to the maintenance of high physical functioning. This study tested whether an intervention that combined information with cognitive-behavioral strategies had a better effect on women's physical activity than an information-only intervention. Design: A 4-month longitudinal RCT comparing two brief interventions was conducted between July 2003 and September 2004. Analyses were completed in June 2008. Setting and participants: 256 women aged 30-50 years in a large metropolitan area in Germany. Intervention: The study compared a health information intervention with an information + self-regulation intervention. All participants received the same information intervention; participants in the information + self-regulation group additionally learned a technique that integrates mental contrasting with implementation intentions. Main outcome measures: Self-reported minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week. Results: Participants in the information + self-regulation group were twice as physically active (i.e., nearly 1 hour more per week) as participants in the information group. This difference appeared as early as the first week after intervention and was maintained over the course of the 4 months. Participants in the information group slightly increased their baseline physical activity after intervention. Conclusions: Women who learned a self-regulation technique during an information session were substantially more active than women who participated in only the information session. The self-regulation technique should be tested further as a tool for increasing the impact of interventions on behavioral change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-34
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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