A Couples-Based Approach for Increasing Physical Activity Among Adults With Type 2 Diabetes: A Pilot Feasibility Randomized Controlled Trial

Diabetes Educ. 2019 Dec;45(6):629-641. doi: 10.1177/0145721719881722. Epub 2019 Oct 16.


Purpose: The purpose of the study was to examine feasibility outcomes and obtain initial efficacy data on an intervention testing collaborative implementation intentions (IIs) for physical activity (PA) among participants with type 2 diabetes.

Methods: The study used a pilot randomized design and enrolled people with diabetes (PWD) and their partners (N = 40 couples, 80 individuals). PWD reported psychosocial measures, including self-efficacy for PA, diabetes partner investment in diabetes self-management, and PA-related social support. Accelerometers (objective) and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (self-report) were used to assess PA.

Results: Participants in both experimental conditions reported being satisfied with the intervention and highly committed to their PA plans. Participants were able to follow instructions and completed the intervention in less than 30 minutes. Participants in the collaborative IIs condition reported a greater increase in PA-related social support (partial 2 = .185, P < .05) and self-reported recreational PA (partial 2 = .210, P < .05) at 6 weeks compared to the other 2 conditions. In this pilot study, there were no significant group differences on other psychosocial outcomes or for objective PA; however, time in light PA trended higher for the collaborative IIs condition compared to the other 2 conditions (partial 2 = .237, P = .056).

Conclusions: This study provides initial support for collaborative IIs for PA with PWD and their partners. This brief intervention was feasible and highly acceptable, and it may improve relationship dynamics around PA as well as ultimately increase PA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Adult
  • Couples Therapy / methods*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pilot Projects
  • Self Efficacy
  • Self-Management / methods
  • Self-Management / psychology*
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires