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J Clin Nurs. 2012 Apr;21(7-8):914-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2011.03881.x. Epub 2011 Nov 15.

The effect of an intervention combining self-efficacy theory and pedometers on promoting physical activity among adolescents.

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  • 1Department of Nursing, Tzu Chi College of Technology, Hualien, Taiwan.



To study the effect of an intervention combining self-efficacy theory and pedometers on promoting physical activity among adolescents.


The beneficial effects of regular physical activity on health in youths are well-documented. However, adolescence is found to be the age of greatest decline in physical activity participation. Physical activity participation among girls was generally less frequent and less intense than boys. Therefore, there is a strong need for effective interventions that can help promote physical activity in this population.


An experimental design.


Two classes of female junior college students (mean age = 16) were randomly sampled from a total of four classes and, of those, one each was randomly assigned to either the intervention (n = 46) or the control group (n = 48). Self-efficacy was used as a core theoretical foundation of the intervention design, and pedometers were provided to the students in the intervention group. Distances between each domestic scenic spot were illustrated graphically in a walking log for students to mark the extent of their walking or running. Students in the control group participated in a usual physical education programme. The primary outcome was a change in the number of aerobic steps. The secondary outcomes were changes in cardiopulmonary endurance and exercise self-efficacy.


At 12-week follow-up, the mean change in aerobic steps was 371 steps and 108 steps in the intervention and control group, respectively. The difference in mean change between the two groups was 467 steps. Effects of the intervention on changes of cardiopulmonary endurance and perceived exercise self-efficacy scores were not found.


Among adolescent girls, a 12-week intervention designed on the theoretical foundation of self-efficacy theory and provision of pedometers was found to have an effect on increasing their physical activity. The intervention, using graphs of domestic scenic spots to represent the distance of walking or running as monitored by pedometers, might enhance motivation regarding physical activity.


It is important for health professionals, including school health nurses, involved in the care of adolescent health, to design and provide a physical activity intervention combining self-efficacy theory and provision of pedometer to promote physical activity.

© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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