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Randomized trial of group interventions to reduce HIV/STD risk and change theoretical mediators among detained adolescents.

Sarah Schmiege, Michelle Broaddus, Michael Levin, Angela Bryan

Journal of consulting and clinical psychology [77:38-50] (2009)

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Criminally involved adolescents engage in high levels of risky sexual behavior and alcohol use, and alcohol use may contribute to lack of condom use. Detained adolescents (n = 484) were randomized to (1) a theory-based sexual risk reduction intervention (GPI), (2) the GPI condition with a group-based alcohol risk reduction motivational enhancement therapy component (GPI + GMET), or (3) an information-only control (INFO). All interventions were presented in same-sex groups in single sessions lasting from 2 to 4 hr. Changes to putative theoretical mediators (attitudes, perceived norms, self-efficacy, and intentions) were measured immediately following intervention administration. The primary outcomes were risky sexual behavior and sexual behavior while drinking measured 3 months later (65.1% retention). The GPI + GMET intervention demonstrated superiority over both other conditions in influencing theoretical mediators and over the INFO control in reducing risky sexual behavior. Self-efficacy and intentions were significant mediators between condition and later risky sexual behavior. This study contributes to an understanding of harm reduction among high-risk adolescents and has implications for understanding circumstances in which the inclusion of GMET components may be effective.


A novel behavioral intervention in adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus improves glycemic control: preliminary results from a pilot randomized control trial.

Louise Maranda, May Lau, Sunita Stewart, Olga Gupta

The Diabetes educator [41:224-30] (2015)

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The purpose of this study was to develop and pilot-test an innovative behavioral intervention in adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) incorporating structured care of a pet to improve glycemic control. Twenty-eight adolescents with A1C > 8.5% (69 mmol/mol) were randomly assigned to either the intervention group (care of a Betta splendens pet fish) or the control group (usual care). Adolescents in the intervention group were given instructions to associate daily and weekly fish care duties with diabetes self-management tasks, including blood glucose testing and parent-adolescent communication. After 3 months, the participants in the intervention group exhibited a statistically significant decrease in A1C level (-0.5%) compared with their peers in the control group, who had an increase in A1C level (0.8%) (P = .04). The younger adolescents (10-13 years of age) demonstrated a greater response to the intervention, which was statistically significant (-1.5% vs 0.6%, P = .04), compared with the older adolescents (14-17 years of age). Structured care of a pet fish can improve glycemic control in adolescents with T1DM, likely by providing cues to perform diabetes self-management behaviors.


The impact of an innovative web-based school nutrition intervention to increase fruits and vegetables and milk and alternatives in adolescents: a clustered randomized trial.

Karine Chamberland, Marina Sanchez, Shirin Panahi, Véronique Provencher, Jocelyn Gagnon, Vicky Drapeau

The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity [14:140] (2017)

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The increase in overweight and obesity in adolescents and its health-related consequences highlight the need to develop strategies, which could help them adopt healthy eating habits. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of an innovative web-based school nutrition intervention (Team Nutriathlon) aimed at promoting the consumption of vegetables and fruit (V/F) and milk and alternatives (M/A) in high school students and to identify facilitators and/or barriers influencing its success. Ten classes of first and second year secondary students (grades 7 and 8) from the Québec City region were randomized into two groups (control n = 89 and intervention n = 193). Participants in the intervention (Team Nutriathlon) were to increase their consumption of V/F and M/A using an innovative web-based platform, developed for this study, over 6 weeks. The control group followed the regular school curriculum. The number of servings of V/F and M/A consumed by students per day was compared between the two groups before, during, immediately after and 10 weeks after the intervention using a web-based platform. Main outcome measures included V/F and M/A servings and facilitators and/or barriers of program success. Repeated measures linear fixed effects models were used to assess the impact of Team Nutriathlon on V/F and M/A consumption. A P-value of <0.05 was considered significant. Students in the intervention reported a significant increase of 3 servings and 1.8 servings per day of V/F and M/A, respectively, compared to the control group (P < 0.05); however, this was only observed in the short-term. Some factors contributing to the success of Team Nutriathlon included the team aspect of the program, use of the technology and recording results outside of classroom hours. Team Nutriathlon represents an innovative web-based nutrition program which positively impacts V/F and M/A consumption among high school students. Using web-based or technological platforms may help youth adopt healthy eating habits that will have implications later in adulthood; however, further studies are needed to determine their long-term effects. NCT03117374 (retrospectively registered).


Wearable Activity Tracker Use Among Australian Adolescents: Usability and Acceptability Study.

Nicola Ridgers, Anna Timperio, Helen Brown, Kylie Ball, Susie Macfarlane, Samuel Lai, Kara Richards, Kelly Mackintosh, Melitta McNarry, Megan Foster, Jo Salmon

JMIR mHealth and uHealth [6:e86] (2018)

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Wearable activity trackers have the potential to be integrated into physical activity interventions, yet little is known about how adolescents use these devices or perceive their acceptability. The aim of this study was to examine the usability and acceptability of a wearable activity tracker among adolescents. A secondary aim was to determine adolescents' awareness and use of the different functions and features in the wearable activity tracker and accompanying app. Sixty adolescents (aged 13-14 years) in year 8 from 3 secondary schools in Melbourne, Australia, were provided with a wrist-worn Fitbit Flex and accompanying app, and were asked to use it for 6 weeks. Demographic data (age, sex) were collected via a Web-based survey completed during week 1 of the study. At the conclusion of the 6-week period, all adolescents participated in focus groups that explored their perceptions of the usability and acceptability of the Fitbit Flex, accompanying app, and Web-based Fitbit profile. Qualitative data were analyzed using pen profiles, which were constructed from verbatim transcripts. Adolescents typically found the Fitbit Flex easy to use for activity tracking, though greater difficulties were reported for monitoring sleep. The Fitbit Flex was perceived to be useful for tracking daily activities, and adolescents used a range of features and functions available through the device and the app. Barriers to use included the comfort and design of the Fitbit Flex, a lack of specific feedback about activity levels, and the inability to wear the wearable activity tracker for water-based sports. Adolescents reported that the Fitbit Flex was easy to use and that it was a useful tool for tracking daily activities. A number of functions and features were used, including the device's visual display to track and self-monitor activity, goal-setting in the accompanying app, and undertaking challenges against friends. However, several barriers to use were identified, which may impact on sustained use over time. Overall, wearable activity trackers have the potential to be integrated into physical activity interventions targeted at adolescents, but both the functionality and wearability of the monitor should be considered.


Development and exploratory cluster-randomised opportunistic trial of a theory-based intervention to enhance physical activity among adolescents.

Vera Araújo-Soares, Teresa McIntyre, Graeme MacLennan, Falko Sniehotta

Psychology & health [24:805-22] (2009)

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This article reports the development and exploratory testing of a school-based intervention programme designed to enhance levels of physical activity in adolescents. The intervention is based on social cognitive theory (SCT), self-regulation theory (SRT) and planning as evidence-based mediators of physical activity changes. Two classes, paired on socio-economic variables, were selected from each of eight Portuguese schools and randomly assigned to an intervention or control group (N = 291). Primary outcome was 'moderate to vigorous physical activity' (International Physical Activity Questionnaire) measured pre and post intervention and at three and nine months follow-up. SCT, SRT and planning variables were secondary outcomes measured pre and post intervention. At post test, participants in the intervention group reported 18 min per week more physical activity (PA), adjusted for pre-intervention, age and sex, than those in the control group (95% confidence interval -10 to 46; p = 0.249). This difference increased to 33 min (95% CI-4 to 71; p = 0.082) at three months and to 57 min (95% CI 13 to 101, p = 0.008) at nine month follow-up. Moreover, the intervention resulted in changes of some of the theoretical target variables, including outcome expectancies and coping planning. However, no evidence was found for the changes in theoretical moderators to mediate the intervention effects on behaviour. Implications for theory and for future research are discussed.


Motivational interviewing as a way to promote physical activity in obese adolescents: a randomised-controlled trial using self-determination theory as an explanatory framework.

Mathieu Gourlan, Philippe Sarrazin, David Trouilloud

Psychology & health [28:1265-86] (2013)

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Using self-determination theory (SDT) as an explanatory framework, this randomised-controlled study evaluates the effect of a motivational interviewing (MI)-based intervention as an addition to a standard weight loss programme (SWLP) on physical activity (PA) practice in obese adolescents over a six-month period. Fifty-four obese adolescents (mean age = 13 years, mean BMI = 29.57 kg/m²) were randomly assigned to an SWLP group (n = 28) or SWLP + MI group (n = 26). Both groups received two SWLP sessions, supplemented for the SWLP + MI group, by six MI sessions. Perceived autonomy support, perceived competence, motivational regulations, PA and BMI were assessed at baseline, three and six months (i.e. the end of the programme). MLM analyses revealed that compared to SWLP, the SWLP + MI group had a greater BMI decrease and a greater PA practice increase over time. Moreover, the SWLP + MI group reported greater autonomy support from medical staff at the end of the programme, greater increase in integrated and identified regulations and a stronger decrease in amotivation. MI appears as an efficient counselling method as an addition to an SWLP to promote PA in the context of pediatric obesity.


The role of self-regulating abilities in long-term weight loss in severely obese children and adolescents undergoing intensive combined lifestyle interventions (HELIOS); rationale, design and methods.

Jutka Halberstadt, Sabine Makkes, Emely de Vet, Anita Jansen, Chantal Nederkoorn, Olga Hvan der Baan-Slootweg, Jacob Seidell

BMC pediatrics [13:41] (2013)

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Adequate treatment of severe childhood obesity is important given its serious social, psychological and physical consequences. Self-regulation may be a crucial determinant of treatment success. Yet, little is known about the role that self-regulation and other psychosocial factors play in the long-term outcome of obesity treatment in severely obese children and adolescents.In this paper, we describe the design of a study that aims to determine whether the ability to self-regulate predicts long-term weight loss in severely obese children and adolescents. An additional objective is to identify other psychosocial factors that may modify this relation. The study is designed as a prospective observational study of 120 severely obese children and adolescents (8-19 years) and their parents/caregivers undergoing an intensive combined lifestyle intervention during one year. The intervention uses behavior change techniques to improve the general ability to self-regulate.Measurements will be taken at three points in time: at baseline (start of treatment), at the end of treatment (1 year after baseline) and at follow-up (2 years after baseline). The primary outcome measurement is the gender and age-specific change in SDS-BMI.The children's general self-regulation abilities are evaluated by two behavioral computer tasks assessing two distinct aspects of self-regulation that are particularly relevant to controlling food intake: inhibitory control (Stop Signal Task) and sensitivity to reward (Balloon Analogue Risk Task). In addition to the computer tasks, a self-report measure of eating-specific self-regulation ability is used. Psychosocial factors related to competence, motivation, relatedness and outcome expectations are examined as moderating factors using several questionnaires for the patients and their parents/caregivers. This study will provide knowledge about the relation between self-regulation and long-term weight loss after intensive lifestyle interventions over a two-year period in severely obese children and adolescents, a growing but often overlooked patient group. We aim to investigate to what extent (changes in) the general ability to self-regulate predicts weight loss and weight loss maintenance. This study will also contribute to the knowledge on how this association is modified by other psychosocial factors. The results may contribute to the development of more successful interventions. Netherlands Trial Register (NTR1678, registered 20-Feb-2009).


Systematic Development of the YouRAction program, a computer-tailored physical activity promotion intervention for Dutch adolescents, targeting personal motivations and environmental opportunities.

Richard Prins, Pepijn van Empelen, Marielle Beenackers, Johannes Brug, Anke Oenema

BMC public health [10:474] (2010)

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Increasing physical activity (PA) among adolescents is an important health promotion goal. PA has numerous positive health effects, but the majority of Dutch adolescents do not meet PA requirements. The present paper describes the systematic development of a theory-based computer-tailored intervention, YouRAction, which targets individual and environmental factors determining PA among adolescents. The intervention development was guided by the Intervention Mapping protocol, in order to define clear program objectives, theoretical methods and practical strategies, ensure systematic program planning and pilot-testing, and anticipate on implementation and evaluation. Two versions of YouRAction were developed: one that targets individual determinants and an extended version that also provides feedback on opportunities to be active in the neighbourhood. Key determinants that were targeted included: knowledge and awareness, attitudes, self-efficacy and subjective norms. The extended version also addressed perceived availability of neighbourhood PA facilities. Both versions aimed to increase levels of moderate-to-vigorous PA among adolescents. The intervention structure was based on self-regulation theory, comprising of five steps in the process of successful goal pursuit. Monitoring of PA behaviour and behavioural and normative feedback were used to increase awareness of PA behaviour; motivation was enhanced by targeting self-efficacy and attitudes, by means of various interactive strategies, such as web movies; the perceived environment was targeted by visualizing opportunities to be active in an interactive geographical map of the home environment; in the goal setting phase, the adolescents were guided in setting a goal and developing an action plan to achieve this goal; in the phase of active goal pursuit adolescents try to achieve their goal and in the evaluation phase the achievements are evaluated. Based on the results of the evaluation adolescents could revise their goal or choose another behaviour to focus on. The intervention is delivered in a classroom setting in three lessons. YouRAction will be evaluated in a cluster-randomized trial, with classes as unit of randomization. Evaluation will focus on PA outcomes, cognitive mediators/moderators and process measures. The planned development of YouRAction resulted in two computer-tailored interventions aimed at the promotion of PA in a Dutch secondary school setting. NTR1923.


A cluster-randomised controlled trial to promote physical activity in adolescents: the Raising Awareness of Physical Activity (RAW-PA) Study.

Nicola Ridgers, Anna Timperio, Helen Brown, Kylie Ball, Susie Macfarlane, Samuel Lai, Kara Richards, Winsfred Ngan, Jo Salmon

BMC public health [17:6] (2017)

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Recent technological advances provide an alternative yet underutilised opportunity for promoting physical activity in youth. The primary aim of the Raising Awareness of Physical Activity (RAW-PA) Study is to examine the short- and longer-term impact of a wearable activity monitor combined with digital behaviour change resources on adolescents' daily physical activity levels. RAW-PA is a 12 week, multicomponent physical activity intervention that utilises a popular activity tracker (Fitbit® Flex) and supporting digital materials that will be delivered online via social media. The resources target key behaviour change techniques. The intervention structure and components have been informed by participatory research principles. RAW-PA will be evaluated using a cluster randomised controlled trial design with schools as the unit of randomisation. Twelve schools located in Melbourne, Australia, will allocated to either the intervention or wait-list control group. The target sample size is 300 Year 8 adolescents (aged 13-14 years). Participants' moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity will be the primary outcome. Survey measures will be completed. Process factors (e.g. feasibility, acceptability/appeal, fidelity) will also be collected. To our knowledge, this study will provide some of the first evidence concerning the effect of wearable activity trackers and digital behaviour change resources on adolescents' physical activity levels. This study will provide insights into the use of such technologies for physical activity promotion, which may have a significant impact on health education, promotion, practice and policy. Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry No: ACTRN12616000899448 . Date of registration: July 7, 2016.