Physical activity and adolescent girls : the development and evaluation of an active-gaming intervention utilising social cognitive theory and action research
Henretty, Joan M.
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This action research study sought to develop and evaluate an SCT based active-gaming which aimed to increase physical activity (PA) behaviour and psycho-social correlates of PA in adolescent girls. A review of the literature and consultation with stakeholders led to the development of four studies. Informed by SCT the first three studies were designed to focus on the role of individual, environmental and behavioural factors on PA behaviour, respectively. Study 1 was a small-scale school-based randomised controlled trial (n=21) evaluating the effectiveness and feasibility of PA consultations on enhancing psycho-social correlates of PA and PA behaviour. Questionnaire responses, a pupil validity questionnaire and researcher case notes indicated that PA consultations were well received and effective at moving participants through the stages of change; however there were no significant changes in PA behaviour and psycho-social correlates of PA. Study 2 incorporated focus groups and inductive content analysis to identify the environmental factors that adolescent girls (n=38) perceived as influencing PA during PE. Results highlighted several key social and physical enviornmental factors perceived to influence PA. Study 3 employed focus groups and inductive content analysis to examine the experiences of girls (n=8) who participated in a small-scale active-gaming intervention, reporting that girls were supportive of the activity. Study 4 was informed by Studies 1 to 3 and aimed to design, implement and evaluate the effectiveness of an active-gaming intervention with group PA consultations on PA behaviour and psycho-social determinants of PA in adolescent girls (n= 244). Outcome variables were assessed by questionnaire and the feasibility and acceptability of the project was assessed by monitoring attendance, employing a social validity questionnaire and researcher case notes. Results indicated that the intervention was effective in moving participants through the stages of change; however only low active girls demonstrated significant changes in PA and psycho-social determinants of PA. The intervention was generally well received with high attendance and positive feedback. Researcher case notes indicated that less active participants responded most favourably to the intervention. Overall, the study concluded that adolescent girls‘ PA behaviour is influenced by individual and environmental factors. Girls are open and favourable to PA interventions, especially when they focus on the individual‘s needs. Active-gaming is a popular activity with adolescent girls; however active-gaming may only be effective at increasing the PA levels of low active girls.