Examining the Effectiveness of Coaching Behaviour Change Techniques among University Students with Disabilities: A Preliminary Study


Introduction: Behaviour change techniques (BCTs) are designed to facilitate behaviour change, but their effectiveness in interventions is inconsistent. We in fact have little knowledge on whether participants change their BCT usages after being coaching in an intervention. This study aimed to preliminary examine changes in BCTs among students with disabilities participating in BCT coaching sessions in an adapted physical activity program (FAM). Methods: A 10-week program supported N= 9 university students (>18) with disabilities in increasing their physical activity through coaching BCTs including action planning and goal setting. Participants completed an action planning questionnaire and (n=6) wrote their physical activity goals pre and post program. Each goal was then coded as either behavioural or outcome-oriented goals and whether they were specific, measurable, and time-bound. Results: Action planning improved from pre coaching (M= 15.78, SD =4.68), to post coaching (M= 16.33, SD =9.90). Medium changes (dRMpooled=0.32) were reported from pre to mid-program, but only small effects (dRMpooled=0.006) were found from pre to end- of program. Before coaching, 83% participants' goals were outcome-oriented, and 17% were behaviour-oriented. Post coaching, behaviour goals increased to 67% and outcome goals decreased to 33%. Specific and time-bound goals accounted for 17% each, while measurable goals were 67%. Goal specificity improved to 50%, time-bound goals increased to 67% while goal measurability remained consistent 67%. Conclusion: Our first try in coaching BCTs found preliminary effects on changing goal setting, while improvements in action planning only at mid-program. This can provide guidance for future behaviour change coaching interventions.