University of Manchester | December 2018 | Want to stick to your New Year’s exercise regime? This research can help
Collbaorative research between experts at University of Manchester, Leeds Trinity University and the National University of Galway Ireland have analysed the results of 180 randomised trials in order to further research into the most effective techniques for changing adults’ physical activity using a concept known as self-efficacy.
This is basically the perception of our own ability and its influence on our ability to succeed or accomplish a specific goal. While earlier research has indicated that higher levels of self-efficacy are associated with higher levels of physical activity, what is less certain is which techniques have the most impact on our self-efficacy.
A key finding from the study is that the greater the number of techniques used, the more effective they may be at maintaining our self-efficacy in the longer-term. They also found that simply providing people with information on the associated health benefits of exercise did not increase self-efficacy
Lead author Dr Mei Yee Tang at The University of Manchester said: “One of the biggest influences of our behaviour is our own beliefs. If we believe we are capable of doing something, then we are more likely to devote effort to it and feel we can do it even if it may be a difficult task.”
Dr Tang added: “We were unable to find clear patterns of techniques which should be used together, or which might not work as well together, in increasing self-efficacy.
“Previous similar reviews which have looked at specific adult populations have found self-regulatory techniques such as setting physical activity goals and monitoring physical activity behaviour to be effective at increasing self-efficacy in obese adults and adults without a clinical condition.
“Yet, these techniques were associated with lower self-efficacy in older adults. In older adults, techniques such as setting graded tasks – such as slowly increasing walking distance each time – ,were found to be more effective for this population.
“Therefore, it’s important to stress that there isn’t a single ‘magic bullet’ that can increase self-efficacy for physical activity across all adults.
“On January first we should think about factors such as age and any illness or conditions if we are to support ourselves and our loved ones in achieving their physical activity related-New Year’s resolution.”
Read the press release from the University of Manchester
Full reference: Tang, M.Y., Smith, D.M., Mc Sharry, J., Hann, M., French, D.P., | 2018| Behavior Change Techniques Associated With Changes in Postintervention and Maintained Changes in Self-Efficacy For Physical Activity: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis| Annals of Behavioral Medicine| kay090| https://doi.org/10.1093/abm/kay090
Self-efficacy is an important determinant of physical activity but it is unclear how best to increase self-efficacy for physical activity and to maintain these changes.
This systematic review aimed to identify which specific behavior change techniques (BCTs), BCT clusters, and number of BCTs were associated with changes in postintervention and maintained changes in self-efficacy for physical activity across all adult populations.
A systematic search yielded 180 randomized trials (204 comparisons) which reported changes in self-efficacy. BCTs were coded using the BCT Taxonomy v1. Hierarchical cluster analysis explored the clustering of BCTs. Meta-analyses and moderator analyses examined whether the presence and absence of individual BCTs in interventions were associated with effect-size changes for self-efficacy.
Small intervention effects were found for postintervention self-efficacy for physical activity. “Information about social, environmental, and emotional consequences” was associated with higher effect sizes, whereas “social support (practical)” was associated with lower effect sizes. Small and nonsignificant effects were found for maintained changes in self-efficacy for physical activity . Lack of meaningful clustering of BCTs was found. A significant positive relationship was found between number of BCTs and effect sizes for maintained changes in self-efficacy for physical activity.
There does not appear to be a single effective approach to change self-efficacy for physical activity in all adults: different approaches are required for different populations. Interventions with more BCTs seem more effective at maintaining changes in self-efficacy for physical activity.
Rotherham NHS staff can request the article here