Journal of Aging and Physical Activity vol:22 pages:186-198
This study compared the long-term effectiveness of three physical activity counseling strategies among sedentary older adults: a one-contact referral (REFER), a one-contact individualized walking program (WALK) and a multiple-contact individually-tailored and need-supportive coaching based on the Self-Determination Theory (COACH). Participants (n = 442) completed measurements before (pre-test), immediately after (post-test) and one year after (follow-up-test) a ten-week intervention. Linear mixed models demonstrated significant time by condition interaction effects from pre- to post-test. More specifically, WALK and COACH yielded larger increases in daily steps and self-reported physical activity than REFER. Similarly, self-reported physical activity increased more from pre- to follow-up-test in WALK and COACH compared with REFER. Autonomous motivation mediated the effect of perceived need-support on physical activity, irrespective of counseling strategy. These results demonstrate the long-term effectiveness of both a one-contact individualized walking program and a more time-consuming need-supportive coaching, especially in comparison with a standard referral to local opportunities.