Examining the feasibility and effects of a pilot online physical activity intervention targeting social cognitive variables in youth with physical disabilities


Research indicates that using the Internet is an effective method to deliver health behaviour change interventions to youth. In particular, Internet-based physical activity (PA) interventions may be of value for youth with physical disabilities, as this method of intervention delivery eliminates commonly experienced challenges related to accessibility. However, there is limited evidence on the feasibility and effects of an Internet-based PA intervention for this population. Thus, a pilot study was conducted to evaluate the feasibility, and short- and longer-term effects of a four-week social cognitive theory-based, online PA intervention on the social cognitions and PA behaviour of youth with physical disabilities. Intervention feasibility was supported by high implementation fidelity (100%), high compliance (95.32%), and positive ratings on indicators of acceptability. A series of one-way, repeated-measures ANOVAs revealed significant: (a) small-to-medium-sized increases in participants' task (F[2, 11] = 5.89, ?2p = .28) and barrier (F[2, 11] = 4.66, ?2p = .24) self-efficacy; (b) a small-sized increase in self-regulatory self-efficacy for goal-setting (F[2, 11] = 4.22, p = .02, ?2p = .22); (c) large-sized increases in the use of goal-setting (F[2, 11] = 11.01, ?2p = .42), and scheduling and planning (F[2, 11] = 10.66, ?2p = .42); and (d) a medium-sized increase in self-reported PA behaviour (F[2, 11] = 5.32, ?2p = .26). Overall, findings from this study demonstrate that an Internet-based PA intervention is feasible, and that targeting social cognitive constructs can enhance cognitive and behavioural outcomes among youth with physical disabilities.

Acknowledgments: This research was supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship and by the Canadian Disability Participation Project (CDPP)