An Exploration and Experimental Test of a Generic Messaging Approach to the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Adults

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Walters, Alexandra
Health Promotion , Movement Behaviours , Health Messaging , Knowledge Translation , Self-Efficacy
Most Canadian adults do not meet current behaviour recommendations for physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep. Historically, movement behaviours were presented in isolation from one another, using complex and overwhelming thresholds outlining durations and intensity for optimal health. Generic messages encouraging small, but meaningful, behaviour change may be a better approach than thresholds through improving adults’ confidence to engage in optimal movement patterns. New integrated Guidelines providing evidence-based recommendations for Canadian adults’ movement behaviours over a 24-hour day are forthcoming. Public facing messages complementing the scientific recommendations to promote engagement amongst adults are needed, and generic messages may be a gateway to encourage adults’ confidence to meet the Guidelines. Grounded in Social Cognitive Theory, this thesis aimed to determine and experimentally test a generic tagline for the Guidelines and build support for generic messaging among health behaviour interventions. Two studies were completed online. In Study 1, Guideline end-users and stakeholders (NPhase1=774; NPhase2= 996) ranked a series of taglines based on whether the messages fostered Guideline self-efficacy beliefs. In Study 2, adult Guideline end-users (N=249) completed pre-, post- and two-week quantitative surveys following exposure to generic or threshold Guideline promotional materials. In the first study, a chi-squared test of independence confirmed the generic tagline “Move More. Sit Less. Sleep Better.” was favoured as self-efficacy boosting, χ2(1) = 142.4, p < .001. In the second study, hierarchal linear regressions predicting adults’ confidence to meet the Guidelines revealed an activity status by experimental condition interaction, F(4, 192) = 52.14, p < .05, ßGeneralTask = -.18, F(4, 192) = 43.06, ßScheduling = -.15, p < .05. Post hoc analyses indicated low active adults exposed to generic messages had greater confidence to meet the Guidelines compared to low active adults exposed to threshold messages. Additionally, message processing was greater among adults exposed to the generic materials than the threshold materials, F(3, 243) = 3.34, p < .05. The findings emphasize that generic messages may be advantageous for promoting adults’ confidence to meet movement guidelines. This work presents considerations for researchers and health promoters aiming to develop appropriate messages for health behaviour engagement among Canadian adults.
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