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“Integrating Innovative Health Interventions with Behavioral Theory

Integrating Innovative Health Interventions with Behavioral Theory: Examples from Physical Activity Promotion

Ryan E. Rhodes, PhD, University of Victoria, Canada

There is irrefutable evidence that engaging in a physically active lifestyle can help to mitigate numerous chronic diseases such as those that relate to the cardiovascular system, several forms of cancer, and osteoporosis. In addition to the direct physical benefits, there are numerous psychological benefits such as overall improvement in well-being, a reduction in depression and anxiety, and an increase in cognitive functioning. Despite the accepted benefits of physical activity, the majority of people are not reaching the recommended physical activity guidelines for health and past interventions have had modest success. Physical activity intervention through innovative technology is progressing at fast pace in both the research and commercial sectors. Nevertheless, the results of interventions using these technologies has been mixed. One concern in this burgeoning field of technology and health behavior change is the lack of theory-based considerations during intervention development. For example, physical activity psychology has a 40 year history with many lessons learned that can be applied to intervention design. Furthermore, theory can provide putative mediators to examine why a technology-based intervention “worked” or did not “work” to change behavior. In this presentation, I will overview the evolution of physical activity theory in intervention and highlight the most and least effective mediators of behavior change. I will highlight how the theoretical model used in our laboratory, called multi-process action control, can be used to design innovative interventions. Finally, I will conclude the talk with an overview of how specific aspects of innovative and interactive technology may provide unique opportunities to examine contemporary physical activity theory, and provide suggestions for how theory and innovative interventions can continue to develop together.
Updated 2016-09-16