The value of social-cognitive theory to reducing preschool TV viewing: a pilot randomized trial

Prev Med. 2012 Mar-Apr;54(3-4):212-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.02.004. Epub 2012 Feb 14.


Objective: To (a) reduce the total amount of television viewing to which preschool children are exposed; and (b) shift the balance of exposure away from commercial television toward educational content.

Method: Randomized controlled clinical trial. Data collected in 2007; analyzed 2008-2011. Participants were 67 English-speaking families in Seattle with a preschool-aged child exposed to more than 90 min of television viewing on average per day. A case manager for each group used in-person conferences, monthly newsletters, and e-mail contact to motivate behavior change around child television viewing (intervention) or child safety (control).

Results: Compared to those in the control group, families randomized to the intervention group experienced a significant reduction by 37 minutes/day in total viewing time (95% CI: 5.6-68.7), including a marginally significant reduction by 29 minutes/day in viewing of commercial content (95% CI: -4.6-63). Compared to those in the control group, those in the intervention group experienced a positive change in outcome expectations. There were no significant changes in self-efficacy or volitional control. An advance in stage-of-change was marginally significant.

Conclusions: Targeting commercial TV viewing may prove a successful behavioral intervention to achieve public health goals in this population.

Trial registration: NCT00503074.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Educational Status
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Pilot Projects
  • Self Efficacy
  • Television*
  • Time Factors

Associated data