A pilot and feasibility study of a self-compassion intervention aimed to increase physical activity behaviour among people with prediabetes


People with prediabetes have an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). Regular physical activity can reduce T2D risk. However, people with prediabetes experience difficult emotions such as worry and guilt which can interfere with the self-regulation of physical activity. Self-compassion may help people with prediabetes engage in physical activity and reduce their T2D risk through its association with adaptive emotional responses and enhanced self-regulatory abilities. No study has examined whether self-compassion training can augment behaviour change training to increase physical activity among people with prediabetes more than behaviour change training plus attention. We ultimately plan to carry out an intervention which aims to assess this research question. In advance, we took the recommended step of assessing the feasibility and acceptability of the planned intervention to inform the larger trial. We assessed recruitment and retention rates, process time, adherence, instructor fidelity, study personnel challenges and insights, safety, and capacity. Descriptive statistics were determined and compared to predetermined criteria for most feasibility outcomes whereas transcribed exit-interviews using a thematic analysis addressed the acceptability and remaining feasibility outcomes. Adherence to many study aspects, retention, instructor fidelity, safety, capacity, and acceptability by participants and facilitators all met the feasibility criteria; the intervention should be feasible and acceptable with minor changes; recruitment rate, process time and adherence to home practice need to be addressed; we offer suggestions to improve these aspects for the larger efficacy trial.