Group versus individual approach? A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of interventions to promote physical activity

SM Burke, AV Carron, MA Eys, Nikolaos Ntoumanis, PA Estabrooks

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Abstract

The purpose of the study was to conduct a meta-analysis to empirically compare the relative merits of different contexts typically employed in the physical activity intervention literature for five categories of outcomes: adherence, social interaction, quality of life, physiological effectiveness, and functional effectiveness. Four contexts were examined: home-based programmes not involving contact from researchers or health-care professionals, home-based programmes that involved some contact, standard exercise classes, and exercise classes where group-dynamics principles were used to increase cohesiveness (‘true groups’). Standard literature searches produced 44 relevant studies containing 214 effect sizes. Results revealed a common trend across dependent variables; exercising in a true group was superior to exercising in a standard exercise class, which in turn, did not differ from exercising at home with contact. Furthermore, exercising at home with contact was superior to exercising at home without contact. These results have implications for practitioners in terms of the importance of contact and social support in physical activity interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-35
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of sport & exercise psychology
Volume2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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