Evaluation of motivationally tailored vs. standard self-help physical activity interventions at the workplace

Am J Health Promot. Mar-Apr 1998;12(4):246-53. doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-12.4.246.


Purpose: This study compares the efficacy of a self-help intervention tailored to the individual's stage of motivational readiness for exercise adoption with a standard self-help exercise promotion intervention.

Design: Interventions were delivered at baseline and 1 month; assessments were collected at baseline and 3 months.

Setting: Eleven worksites participating in the Working Healthy Research Trial.

Subjects: Participants (n = 1559) were a subsample of employees at participating worksites, individually randomized to one of two treatment conditions.

Intervention: Printed self-help exercise promotion materials either (1) matched to the individual's stage of motivational readiness for exercise adoption (motivationally tailored), or (2) standard materials (standard).

Measures: Measures of stage of motivational readiness for exercise and items from the 7-Day Physical Activity Recall.

Results: Among intervention completers (n = 903), chi-square analyses showed that, compared to the standard intervention, those receiving the motivationally tailored intervention were significantly more likely to show increases (37% vs. 27%) and less likely to show either no change (52% vs. 58%) or regression (11% vs. 15%) in stage of motivational readiness. Multivariate analyses of variance showed that changes in stage of motivational readiness were significantly associated with changes in self-reported time spent in exercise.

Conclusions: This is the first prospective, randomized, controlled trial demonstrating the efficacy of a brief motivationally tailored intervention compared to a standard self-help intervention for exercise adoption. These findings appear to support treatment approaches that tailor interventions to the individual's stage of motivational readiness for exercise adoption.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Rhode Island