Use of Theory in Behavior Change Interventions: An Analysis of Programs to Increase Physical Activity in Posttreatment Breast Cancer Survivors

Shirley Bluethmann, L. Kay Bartholomew, Caitlin C. Murphy, Sally W. Vernon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective. Theory use may enhance effectiveness of behavioral interventions, yet critics question whether theory-based interventions have been sufficiently scrutinized. This study applied a framework to evaluate theory use in physical activity interventions for breast cancer survivors. The aims were to (1) evaluate theory application intensity and (2) assess the association between extensiveness of theory use and intervention effectiveness. Methods. Studies were previously identified through a systematic search, including only randomized controlled trials published from 2005 to 2013, that addressed physical activity behavior change and studied survivors who were <5 years posttreatment. Eight theory items from Michie and Prestwich’s coding framework were selected to calculate theory intensity scores. Studies were classified into three subgroups based on extensiveness of theory use (Level 1 = sparse; Level 2 = moderate; and Level 3 = extensive). Results. Fourteen randomized controlled trials met search criteria. Most trials used the transtheoretical model (n = 5) or social cognitive theory (n = 3). For extensiveness of theory use, 5 studies were classified as Level 1, 4 as Level 2, and 5 as Level 3. Studies in the extensive group (Level 3) had the largest overall effect size (g = 0.76). Effects were more modest in Level 1 and 2 groups with overall effect sizes of g = 0.28 and g = 0.36, respectively. Conclusions. Theory use is often viewed as essential to behavior change, but theory application varies widely. In this study, there was some evidence to suggest that extensiveness of theory use enhanced intervention effectiveness. However, there is more to learn about how theory can improve interventions for breast cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-253
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

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Randomized Controlled Trials
Breast Neoplasms
Survivors
Physical Activity
Breast Cancer
Social Theory

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

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title = "Use of Theory in Behavior Change Interventions: An Analysis of Programs to Increase Physical Activity in Posttreatment Breast Cancer Survivors",
abstract = "Objective. Theory use may enhance effectiveness of behavioral interventions, yet critics question whether theory-based interventions have been sufficiently scrutinized. This study applied a framework to evaluate theory use in physical activity interventions for breast cancer survivors. The aims were to (1) evaluate theory application intensity and (2) assess the association between extensiveness of theory use and intervention effectiveness. Methods. Studies were previously identified through a systematic search, including only randomized controlled trials published from 2005 to 2013, that addressed physical activity behavior change and studied survivors who were <5 years posttreatment. Eight theory items from Michie and Prestwich’s coding framework were selected to calculate theory intensity scores. Studies were classified into three subgroups based on extensiveness of theory use (Level 1 = sparse; Level 2 = moderate; and Level 3 = extensive). Results. Fourteen randomized controlled trials met search criteria. Most trials used the transtheoretical model (n = 5) or social cognitive theory (n = 3). For extensiveness of theory use, 5 studies were classified as Level 1, 4 as Level 2, and 5 as Level 3. Studies in the extensive group (Level 3) had the largest overall effect size (g = 0.76). Effects were more modest in Level 1 and 2 groups with overall effect sizes of g = 0.28 and g = 0.36, respectively. Conclusions. Theory use is often viewed as essential to behavior change, but theory application varies widely. In this study, there was some evidence to suggest that extensiveness of theory use enhanced intervention effectiveness. However, there is more to learn about how theory can improve interventions for breast cancer survivors.",
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Use of Theory in Behavior Change Interventions : An Analysis of Programs to Increase Physical Activity in Posttreatment Breast Cancer Survivors. / Bluethmann, Shirley; Bartholomew, L. Kay; Murphy, Caitlin C.; Vernon, Sally W.

In: Health Education and Behavior, Vol. 44, No. 2, 01.04.2017, p. 245-253.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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