Our main objective in the current study was to evaluate the long-term effectiveness (12 months from baseline) of I Move (a web-based computer tailored physical activity intervention, based on self-determination theory and motivational interviewing). To this end, we compared I Move to a web-based computer tailored physical activity intervention based on traditional health behavior theories (Active Plus), and to a no-intervention control group. As a secondary objective, the present study aimed to identify participant characteristics that moderate the long term effects of I Move and Active Plus.
A randomized controlled trial was conducted, comparing three research conditions: 1) the I Move condition, participants in this condition received I Move; 2) the Active Plus condition, participants in this condition received Active Plus; 3) the control condition; participants in this condition received no intervention and were placed on a waiting list. Main outcome measures were weekly minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity and weekly days with minimal 30 min of physical activity. All measurements were taken by web-based questionnaires via the study website. Intervention effects were analyzed using multilevel linear regression analyses.
At 12 months from baseline, I Move was found to be effective in increasing weekly minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (ES = .13), while Active Plus was not. In contrast, Active Plus was found to be effective in increasing weekly days with ≥ 30 min PA at 12 months (ES = .11), while I Move was not. No moderators of the effects of I Move were found.
The results suggest that web-based computer tailored physical activity interventions might best include elements based on both self-determination theory/motivational interviewing and traditional health behavioral theories. To be more precise, it is arguable that the focus of the theoretical foundations, used in new web-based PA interventions should depend on the intended program outcome. In order to draw firm conclusions, however, more research on the effects of self-determination theory and motivational interviewing in web-based physical activity promotion is needed.Trial registrationDutch Trial Register NTR4129