Abstract: Background. To facilitate physical activity (PA) adoption and maintenance, promotion of innovative population-level strategies that focus on incorporating moderate intensity, lifestyle PA are needed. Objectives. The purpose of this randomized controlled trial was to evaluate the Dogs, Physical Activity, and Walking intervention (PAW), a 3-month, social cognitive theory (SCT) e-mail based PA intervention. Methods. In a longitudinal, repeated measures design, 49 dog owners were randomly assigned to a control (n=25) or intervention group (n=24). The intervention group received email messages (twice-weekly for four weeks and weekly for eight weeks) designed to influence SCT constructs of self-efficacy, self-regulation, outcome expectations and expectancies, and social support. At baseline and every 3 months through 1 year, participants completed self-reported questionnaires of individual, interpersonal, and PA variables. Linear mixed models were used to assess for significant differences in weekly minutes of dog walking and theoretical constructs between groups (intervention and control), across time. To test self-efficacy as a mediator of social support for dog walking, tests for mediation were conducted using the bootstrapping technique. Results. With the exception of month 9, participants in the intervention group accumulated significantly more weekly minutes of dog walking than the control group. On average, the intervention group accumulated 58.4±18.1 more minutes of weekly dog walking than the control group (pDiscussion. Results indicate that a simple theory based-email intervention is effective in increasing and maintaining an increase in dog walking among dog owners at 12-month follow-up. In light of these findings, it may advantageous to design dog walking interventions that focus on increasing self-efficacy for dog walking by fostering social support.


This is the author-accepted manuscript of Richards E., Ogata, N., & Cheng, C. Evaluation of the Dogs, Physical Activity, and Walking (Dogs PAW) intervention: A randomized controlled trial. (2016) Nursing Research, 65 (3): 191-201. The version of record is available at DOI: 10.1097/NNR.0000000000000155


social cognitive theory, mediation, physical activity, intervention, pets

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