Self-regulation of physical activity behaviour: Novel theory-based intervention strategies for bolstering exercise adherence

Engaging in regular physical activity is pivotal for individuals with prediabetes. Self-regulating independent physical activity requires confidence to schedule in exercise and overcome challenges, goal-set, self-monitor, and revise plans accordingly. Social cognitive theory (SCT) encompasses these crucial components of self-regulation, and is one of the most influential theories explaining behaviour. Traditional physical activity interventions grounded in SCT have demonstrated utility for increasing adherence by teaching these self-regulatory skills, but are often lengthy, costly, and require substantial commitment. Innovative strategies are needed to improve upon existing dismal physical activity rates in adults with prediabetes.

Dr. Jung’s program of research aims to develop and test novel, feasible, and translatable self-regulatory training techniques. Her hypothesis is that brief SCT interventions provide a practical and feasible means to bolster self-regulatory skills necessary for long-term adherence to physical activity.

Through randomized control trials, Dr. Jung will test the efficacy of a brief SCT intervention on increasing independent physical activity for one year in 100 inactive adults with prediabetes. Further, as improvements in technology have made self-regulatory skills training accessible for individuals with prediabetes, the utility of a mobile self-monitoring (SM) platform to increase independent physical activity and lead to greater goal achievement will be assessed in a fitness facility and physiotherapy clinic. Building upon pilot research that demonstrated the superiority of an exercise plus SM intervention incorporating continuous glucose monitors (CGM) as compared to standard care exercise program on independent physical activity, Dr. Jung will assess the feasibility and sustainability of a SM intervention utilizing CGM within a pre-existing community exercise program for individuals with prediabetes.

Program evaluation is becoming increasingly valued as a means to improve existing physical activity programs; Dr. Jung will also evaluate the efficacy of a nation-wide physical activity program targeting disadvantaged children and their caregivers. Measures of SCT constructs – potent predictors of physical activity behaviour change, will be assessed in addition to program implementation fidelity, sustainability, and feasibility throughout this multi-year project.