A sms factorial design targeting motivation and goal priority to increase student participation in university sport


Background; There are many important benefits of sports participation, yet there remains a decline in sport as students begin university. Social cognitive theories have found a gap between motivational intentions and behavior, perhaps because health behaviors are not conducted in isolation. The goal priority (GP) strategy, whereby one goal is prioritized over another, has demonstrated some greater precision in behavior change than simply forming intentions. To date, formative research using this manipulation has been conducted in person. Purpose; The study attempted to increase sports participation using the text messaging delivery method by targeting motivational processes and GP. Method; Seventy participants (n = 41 males; M = 18.96 years, SD = 1.04) were recruited from a small-sized university in the North of England (United Kingdom). A two-week 2 x 2 x 3 factorial randomized controlled trial tested the main effects for motivational (attitude vs. no attitude) and implemental (GP vs. no GP) messages and interactions between factors over time (baseline, immediately post intervention, and four weeks post intervention). Measures of psychological constructs and self-report behavior were taken. Results: Data matched across all time points (n = 27) showed a significant effect of time on the psychological constructs, but not behavior. The manipulations had no main or interactive effects on the psychological constructs and behavior. Conclusion: The study found no significant changes in behavior, although some psychological constructs altered significantly throughout the intervention. We encourage researchers make use of the GP strategy whilst considering some text messaging delivery factors influencing its efficacy.