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Text2Plan: Exploring changes in the quantity and quality of action plans and physical activity in a text messaging intervention

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Background : The primary purpose of our study was to determine if the content and tailoring of text messages affected action planning and physical activity. Second, we determined if the quantity and the quality of action plans changed between a month of receiving text messages (T1–T2) and a month without text messages (T2–T3). We further explored if the quantity and quality of action plans predicted changes in physical activity at T2 and T3.

Methods : Adults (n = 337, M age = 30.72 ± 4.80) with intentions to be active were recruited on the internet. Participants were assigned to receive tailored text messages about action planning for physical activity, generic text messages about action planning for physical activity or generic text messages about physical activity. All participants received weekly planning tools. At T2 and T3, number of action plans created each month was tallied to generate a plan quantity score. For each plan created, three components (what, where and when) were assessed by independent coders to determine plan quality. Physical activity was assessed at each time point using the Godin Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire. Mixed model ANOVA, paired sample t-tests and multiple regression were applied to test our hypotheses.

Results : There were no differences in action planning or physical activity based on the content or tailoring of text messages. The absence of text messages corresponded with declines in the quantity, but not the quality, of action plans between T2 and T3. The quantity of action plans predicted changes in physical activity.

Conclusions : Although there were no differences in action planning or physical activity based on the content or tailoring of messages, the absence of text messages corresponded with declines in the quantity, but not the quality, of action plans. Furthermore, the quantity of action plans predicted changes in physical activity. Future research is needed to determine ways to facilitate sustained formation of multiple, specific action plans over the duration of action planning interventions.
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Keywords: action plan; physical activity; quality; quantity; text message

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Behavioural Medicine Lab, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada 2: School of Kinesiology & Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada

Publication date: July 3, 2015

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