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Front. Public Health | doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2018.00341

Development of a Self-Determination Theory-based physical activity intervention for aged care workers: Protocol for the Activity for Wellbeing Program

 Merilyn J. Lock1*, Dannielle Post1, James Dollman1 and Gaynor Parfitt1
  • 1University of South Australia, Australia

Despite the well-established benefits of regular participation in physical activity, many Australians still fail to maintain sufficient levels. More self-determined types of motivation and more positive affect during activity have been found to be associated with the maintenance of physical activity behaviour over time. Need-supportive approaches to physical activity behaviour change have previously been shown to improve quality of motivation and psychological wellbeing. This paper outlines the development of a need-supportive, person-centred physical activity program for frontline aged-care workers. The program emphasises the use of self-determined methods of regulating activity intensity (affect, rating of perceived exertion and self-pacing) and is aimed at increasing physical activity behaviour and psychological wellbeing. The development process was undertaken in six steps using guidance from the Intervention Mapping framework: i) an in-depth needs assessment (including qualitative interviews where information was gathered from members of the target population); ii) formation of change objectives; iii) selecting theory-informed and evidence-based intervention methods and planning their practical application; iv) producing program components and materials; v) planning program adoption and implementation, and vi) planning for evaluation. The program is based in Self-Determination Theory and provides tools and elements to support autonomy (the use of a collaboratively developed activity plan and participant choice in activity types), competence (action/coping planning, goal-setting and pedometers), and relatedness (the use of a motivational interviewing-inspired appointment and ongoing support in activity).

Keywords: physical activity, Need support, affective valence, rating of perceived exertion, Intervention mapping, aged care workers

Received: 16 Sep 2018; Accepted: 05 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Colette J. Browning, Australian National University, Australia

Reviewed by:

Tiziana Ramaci, Kore University of Enna, Italy
Sankalp Das, Baptist Health South Florida, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Lock, Post, Dollman and Parfitt. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Ms. Merilyn J. Lock, University of South Australia, Adelaide, 5000, Australia,