Enhancing Psychosocial Constructs Associated with Technology-Based Physical Activity: A Randomized Control Trial Among African-American Women

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American Journal of Health Education






Background: Minority women have demonstrated higher rates of health disparities associated with lower levels of physical activity, a finding prevalent among college-aged individuals. Though these health disparities occur given a variety of factors, novel, technology-based interventions are being developed to increase physical activity, with Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) serving as a useful framework for guiding such interventions.

Purpose: This investigation sought to evaluate 2 technology-based interventions on physical activity motivation and psychosocial variables among young African American women.

Methods: Forty-nine female African American college students aged 18–24 used an UpBand accelerometer and app or a diet tracker app for 6 weeks. Posttesting occurred at the conclusion of the intervention and 2 months postintervention.

Results: Perceived family support for exercise decreased in both groups, F(2, 94) = 9.90, P < .001, partial η2 = 0.17. Following an initial decrease in exercise self-efficacy scores from pre- to posttest, an increase in exercise self-efficacy was evidenced from posttest to the 2-month follow-up for both groups, F(1, 47) = 10.90, P = .002, partial η2 = 0.188.

Discussion: Although technology-based physical activity apps include social constructs, this study did not find strong support for promoting the psychosocial variables among participants. The use of fitness-promoting technology may facilitate exercise self-efficacy in minority female college students.

Translation to Health Education Practice: Technology-based interventions may be more effective when used in conjunction with traditional physical activity promotion.