Retention, adherence and compliance: important considerations for home- and group-based resistance training programs for older adults

J Sci Med Sport. 2006 Oct;9(5):402-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2006.06.020. Epub 2006 Sep 5.


Reports on the efficacy of physical activity intervention trials usually only include discussion of the primary outcomes. However, assessing factors such as participant retention, adherence and compliance can assist in the accurate interpretation of the overall impact of a program in terms of reach and appeal. A quasi-randomised trial was carried out to assess and compare retention and adherence rates, and compliance with, a twice weekly resistance training program provided either individually at home or in a group format. Retirement villages (n=6) were assigned to either 'Have A Try' (HAT, home-based) or 'Come Have A Try' (CHAT, group-based); both programs included nine strength and two balance exercises. The program involved a 20-week Intervention Phase a 24-week Maintenance Phase and a 20-week On-going Maintenance Phase. One hundred and nineteen participants (mean age 80+/-6 years) were recruited (HAT=38, CHAT=81). There was no difference in retention rates at the end of the Intervention Phase, but significantly more HAT than CHAT participants had dropped out of the study (p<0.01) after the Maintenance Phase and the On-going Maintenance Phase. During the Intervention Phase, over half the HAT and CHAT participants completed > or =75% of the prescribed activity sessions, but adherence was significantly greater in CHAT than HAT during the Maintenance Phase (p<0.01). Participants in CHAT were significantly more compliant than HAT participants (p<0.05). Both home- and group-based formats were successful over the short-term, but, in retirement villages, the group program had better adherence and compliance in the longer-term.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Retention, Psychology*