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1.  The HEART Mobile Phone Trial: The Partial Mediating Effects of Self-Efficacy on Physical Activity among Cardiac Patients 
Background: The ubiquitous use of mobile phones provides an ideal opportunity to deliver interventions to increase physical activity levels. Understanding potential mediators of such interventions is needed to increase their effectiveness. A recent randomized controlled trial of a mobile phone and Internet (mHealth) intervention was conducted in New Zealand to determine the effectiveness on exercise capacity and physical activity levels in addition to current cardiac rehabilitation (CR) services for people (n = 171) with ischemic heart disease. Significant intervention effect was observed for self-reported leisure-time physical activity and walking, but not peak oxygen uptake at 24 weeks. There was also significant improvement in self-efficacy.
Objective: To evaluate the mediating effect of self-efficacy on physical activity levels in an mHealth delivered exercise CR program.
Methods: Treatment evaluations were performed on the principle of intention to treat. Adjusted regression analyses were conducted to evaluate the main treatment effect on leisure-time physical activity and walking at 24 weeks, with and without change in self-efficacy as the mediator of interest.
Results: Change in self-efficacy at 24 weeks significantly mediated the treatment effect on leisure-time physical activity by 13%, but only partially mediated the effect on walking by 4% at 24 weeks.
Conclusion: An mHealth intervention involving text messaging and Internet support had a positive treatment effect on leisure-time physical activity and walking at 24 weeks, and this effect was likely mediated through changes in self-efficacy. Future trials should examine other potential mediators related to this type of intervention.
PMCID: PMC4034605  PMID: 24904918
mobile phones; exercise; behavior; self-efficacy
2.  Measuring Physical Activity in a Cardiac Rehabilitation Population Using a Smartphone-Based Questionnaire 
Questionnaires are commonly used to assess physical activity in large population-based studies because of their low cost and convenience. Many self-report physical activity questionnaires have been shown to be valid and reliable measures, but they are subject to measurement errors and misreporting, often due to lengthy recall periods. Mobile phones offer a novel approach to measure self-reported physical activity on a daily basis and offer real-time data collection with the potential to enhance recall.
The aims of this study were to determine the convergent validity of a mobile phone physical activity (MobilePAL) questionnaire against accelerometry in people with cardiovascular disease (CVD), and to compare how the MobilePAL questionnaire performed compared with the commonly used self-recall International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ).
Thirty adults aged 49 to 85 years with CVD were recruited from a local exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation clinic in Auckland, New Zealand. All participants completed a demographics questionnaire and underwent a 6-minute walk test at the first visit. Subsequently, participants were temporarily provided a smartphone (with the MobilePAL questionnaire preloaded that asked 2 questions daily) and an accelerometer, which was to be worn for 7 days. After 1 week, a follow-up visit was completed during which the smartphone and accelerometer were returned, and participants completed the IPAQ.
Average daily physical activity level measured using the MobilePAL questionnaire showed moderate correlation (r=.45; P=.01) with daily activity counts per minute (Acc_CPM) and estimated metabolic equivalents (MET) (r=.45; P=.01) measured using the accelerometer. Both MobilePAL (beta=.42; P=.008) and age (beta=–.48, P=.002) were significantly associated with Acc_CPM (adjusted R2=.40). When IPAQ-derived energy expenditure, measured in MET-minutes per week (IPAQ_met), was considered in the predicted model, both IPAQ_met (beta=.51; P=.001) and age (beta=–.36; P=.016) made unique contributions (adjusted R2=.47, F 2,27=13.58; P<.001).There was also a significant association between the MobilePAL and IPAQ measures (r=.49, beta=.51; P=.007).
A mobile phone–delivered questionnaire is a relatively reliable and valid measure of physical activity in a CVD cohort. Reliability and validity measures in the present study are comparable to existing self-report measures. Given their ubiquitous use, mobile phones may be an effective method for physical activity surveillance data collection.
PMCID: PMC3636157  PMID: 23524251
cellular phone; self report; motor activity; bias; cardiovascular diseases
3.  A mHealth cardiac rehabilitation exercise intervention: findings from content development studies 
Involving stakeholders and consumers throughout the content and study design ensures interventions are engaging and relevant for end-users. The aim of this paper is to present the content development process for a mHealth (mobile phone and internet-based) cardiac rehabilitation (CR) exercise intervention.
An innovative mHealth intervention was developed with patient input using the following steps: conceptualization, formative research, pre-testing, and pilot testing. Conceptualization, including theoretical and technical aspects, was undertaken by experts. For the formative component, focus groups and interviews with cardiac patients were conducted to discuss their perceptions of a mHealth CR program. A general inductive thematic approach identified common themes. A preliminary library of text and video messages were then developed. Participants were recruited from CR education sessions to pre-test and provide feedback on the content using an online survey. Common responses were extracted and compiled. An iterative process was used to refine content prior to pilot testing and conduct of a randomized controlled trial.
38 CR patients and 3 CR nurses participated in the formative research and 20 CR patients participated in the content pre-testing. Participants perceived the mHealth program as an effective approach to inform and motivate patients to exercise. For the qualitative study, 100% (n = 41) of participants thought it to be a good idea, and 11% of participants felt it might not be useful for them, but would be for others. Of the 20 participants who completed the online survey, 17 out of 20 (85%) stated they would sign up to a program where they could receive information by video messages on a website, and 12 out of 20 (60%) showed interest in a texting program. Some older CR patients viewed technology as a potential barrier as they were unfamiliar with text messaging or did not have mobile phones. Steps to instruct participants to receive texts and view the website were written into the study protocol. Suggestions to improve videos and wording of texts were fed back to the content development team and refined.
Most participants thought a mHealth exercise program was an effective way to deliver exercise-based CR. The results were used to develop an innovative multimedia exercise intervention. A randomized controlled trial is currently underway.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3442998  PMID: 22646848
Cardiac rehabilitation; Exercise; Telemedicine; Internet
4.  HEART: heart exercise and remote technologies: A randomized controlled trial study protocol 
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is aimed at improving health behaviors to slow or reverse the progression of CVD disease. Exercise is a central element of CR. Technologies such as mobile phones and the Internet (mHealth) offer potential to overcome many of the psychological, physical, and geographical barriers that have been associated with lack of participation in exercise-based CR. We aim to trial the effectiveness of a mobile phone delivered exercise-based CR program to increase exercise capacity and functional outcomes compared with usual CR care in adults with CVD. This paper outlines the rationale and methods of the trial.
A single-blinded parallel two-arm randomized controlled trial is being conducted. A total of 170 people will be randomized at 1:1 ratio either to receive a mHealth CR program or usual care. Participants are identified by CR nurses from two metropolitan hospitals in Auckland, New Zealand through outpatient clinics and existing databases. Consenting participants are contacted to attend a baseline assessment. The intervention consists of a theory-based, personalized, automated package of text and video message components via participants' mobile phones and the Internet to increase exercise behavior, delivered over six months. The control group will continue with usual CR. Data collection occurs at baseline and 24 weeks (post-intervention). The primary outcome is change in maximal oxygen uptake from baseline to 24 weeks. Secondary outcomes include post-intervention measures on self-reported physical activity (IPAQ), cardiovascular risk factors (systolic blood pressure, weight, and waist to hip ratio), health related quality of life (SF-36), and cost-effectiveness.
This manuscript presents the protocol for a randomized controlled trial of a mHealth exercise-based CR program. Results of this trial will provide much needed information about physical and psychological well-being, and cost-effectiveness of an automated telecommunication intervention. If effective, this intervention has enormous potential to improve the delivery of CR and could easily be scaled up to be delivered nationally (and internationally) in a very short time, enhancing the translational aspect of this research. It also has potential to extend to comprehensive CR (nutrition advice, smoking cessation, medication adherence).
Trial Registration
PMCID: PMC3118189  PMID: 21624142
5.  Mediators of physical activity behaviour change among adult non-clinical populations: a review update 
An understanding of the determinants of physical activity through mediators of behaviour change is important in order to evaluate the efficacy of interventions. Prior reviews on this topic noted that few studies employed mediator analyses in experimental physical activity trials; the purpose of this review is to update these prior reviews in order to evaluate the state of our present understanding of interventions that include proposed mediators of behaviour change.
Literature was identified through electronic database (e.g., MEDLINE, psychINFO) searching. Studies were eligible if they described a published experimental or quasi-experimental trial examining the effect of an intervention on physical activity behaviour and mediator change in non-clinical adult populations. Quality of included studies was assessed and the analyses examined the symmetry between mediators and behaviour change.
Twenty seven unique trials passed the eligibility criteria and 22 were included in the analysis with scores of moderate or higher quality. Half of the studies reviewed failed to show an intervention effect on PA. The remaining studies showed evidence that the intervention affected changes in the proposed mediators, but tests of mediated effect were performed in only six of these 11 cases and demonstrated mixed outcomes. Differences by theory were not discernable at this time, but self-regulation constructs had the most evidence for mediation.
Published literature employing mediators of change analyses in experimental designs is still relatively elusive since the time of prior reviews; however, the general null findings of changes in mediating constructs from these interventions are a more timely concern. Changes in self-regulation constructs may have the most effect on changes in PA while self-efficacy and outcome expectation type constructs have negligible but limited findings. Innovation and increased fidelity of interventions is needed and should be a priority for future research.
PMCID: PMC2876989  PMID: 20459781

Results 1-5 (5)