Developing a physical activity mHealth intervention in partnership: Sci step together


Introduction: Interventions to support physical activity participation among individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) are required given their low levels of physical activity and barriers to quality physical activity experiences. The purpose of this project was to develop SCI Step Together, a mHealth intervention to improve the quantity and quality of physical activity among individuals with SCI who walk. Methods: Our overarching methodological framework was the Person-Based Approach. This included four steps: 1) primary and secondary research, 2a) design intervention objectives and features, 2b) behavioural analysis and theory, 3) create logic model, and 4) SCI Step Together program content and integrated knowledge translation (IKT), which occurred throughout development. Informed by the SCI IKT Guiding Principles, we conducted interviews with three end-users who pilot tested the app. Results: Step 1 identified issues to be addressed in the intervention objectives and features (Step 2a) and were mapped onto the Behaviour Change Wheel (Step 2b) to determine behaviour change techniques (e.g., action planning) for inclusion in the app. The logic model linked mechanisms of action to self-determination theory (steps 2/3). Interviews with end-users generated recommendations for the technology (e.g., comparing physical activity levels with guidelines), trial (e.g., emailing participants' worksheets), and intervention content (e.g., removing 'graded tasks') (step 4). Discussion: Using the SCI IKT guiding principles to guide partner engagement and involvement ensured that design partners had equal decision-making power in intervention development. Future research will include testing program acceptability, feasibility, and engagement. Partners will be involved throughout the research process.