Effectiveness of face-to-face versus telephone support in increasing physical activity and mental health among university employees

J Phys Act Health. 2008 Nov;5(6):830-43. doi: 10.1123/jpah.5.6.830.


Background: Follow-up support increases the effectiveness of physical activity interventions. This study evaluates the effectiveness of 2 support modes on physical activity and mental health.

Methods: University employees were randomly assigned to a coaching program with 4 face-to-face (N = 33) or telephone-based (N = 33) support contacts. Both programs included an initial face-to-face intake session and an informational brochure. Physical activity, trait anxiety, self-efficacy, and social support were measured by self-report before and after the interventions that lasted 3 months.

Results: Both groups increased leisure-time physical activity, self-efficacy, and social support and decreased sitting time and trait anxiety. The only significant time by group interaction was found for active transportation. More specifically, participants in the face-to-face group reported a significant increase in their active transportation from pretest to posttest, whereas participants in the telephone group reported no significant change.

Conclusions: Both face-to-face support and telephone support proved to be effective in increasing the physical activity level and mental health of university employees.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Counseling*
  • Exercise*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Motor Activity*
  • Psychological Tests
  • Self Efficacy
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telephone
  • Universities