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Impacts of Public Announcements of Goals and Outcomes on Goal Completion (Commit to Steps)

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01811407
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : March 14, 2013
Last Update Posted : December 3, 2014
Sponsor:
Collaborator:
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Paul J. Resnick, University of Michigan

Brief Summary:

Physical activity is known to help reduce obesity and the problems that accompany it. Walking has many benefits that make it an excellent way for obese people to increase their physical activity. It is hard, however, for people to stick with walking programs. Setting specific and challenging walking targets that are combined with timely feedback about discrepancies between desired and actual performance lead to higher performance. There is conflicting theory and evidence about the effects of publicly announcing those targets on commitment to the targets and on performance.

Our research question is whether public announcements reduce the challenge level of commitments people set, and whether the reputational consequence of public announcements is severe enough to increase performance. The investigators propose a controlled trial that will integrate Facebook with the objective monitoring of walking via the use of pedometers to test the effect of public announcements on commitments and step counts.

All participants will wear a pedometer and upload via the internet for 14 to 15 weeks, depending on their date of randomization. The first 2 to 3 weeks the investigators will determine the participant's baseline step counts. The following 12 weeks, the investigators will recommend a daily step count target based on the median number of steps the participants walked the previous week. Each week, participants will set a commitment by stating the number of days in the following week that he/she will meet the computer-set step count target.

Commitments will be entered into an interface that will link with Facebook. Participants will select who of their Facebook friends will receive their commitments and/or results via Facebook posts. The interface will distribute those posts in a way that fits in with existing online social practices.

There will be 3 experimental conditions. 1.) No public announcements 2.) Public announcement of commitment and 3.) Public announcement of commitment and results. In addition, groups 2 and 3 will provide us with emails of 3 friends or family members who will act as the participant's support team. The investigators will send announcements directly to support team members.

The investigators plan to recruit 165 participants primarily by obtaining lists of potentially eligible University of Michigan Health System patients from the clinical data repository, and sending targeted letters to these patients. Because this research - and the physical activity programs it will inform - aims to reach a large number of people efficiently, enrollment will take place online with a click-through consent document. The investigators have extensive experience with delivering online walking programs in similar populations.

The investigators hope to learn best practices for using public announcements and online social networks to encourage people to exercise more or to otherwise promote wellness.


Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms Behavioral: Precommitment announcement Behavioral: Results announcement Behavioral: Walking program Not Applicable

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 165 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Health Services Research
Official Title: Impacts of Public Announcements of Goals and Outcomes on Goal Completion
Study Start Date : July 2013
Actual Primary Completion Date : April 2014
Actual Study Completion Date : April 2014

Arm Intervention/treatment
Private/private
Participants will wear a pedometer for 14-15 weeks and receive a weekly step count target each week. Participants will be required to set a forward-looking commitment each week as to how many days during the following week they will meet their step count target. Commitment and results will be private.
Behavioral: Walking program
Experimental: Public/private
Participants will wear a pedometer for 14-15 weeks and receive a weekly step count target each week. Commitments are made as in the Private/Private condition. In addition, one Facebook announcement will be posted at the beginning of the week that says how many days the participant thinks they will meet their walking target the following week. An email will also be sent directly to 3 friends the participant chose with the same announcements.
Behavioral: Precommitment announcement
Behavioral: Walking program
Experimental: Public/public
Participants will wear a pedometer for 14-15 weeks and receive a weekly step count target each week. Commitments will be made as in the Private/Private condition. In addition, one message will be posted to Facebook at the beginning of the week that says how many days the participant thinks they will meet their walking target the following week, and how they did on their previous weekly commitment. An email will also be sent directly to 3 friends the participant chose with the same announcements.
Behavioral: Precommitment announcement
Behavioral: Results announcement
Behavioral: Walking program



Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. The number of days the participant met the weekly step count target. [ Time Frame: Participants will be followed for 14 to 15 weeks, depending on the date of randomization. ]

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. The number of days the participants committed to walking. [ Time Frame: Participants will be followed for 14 to 15 weeks, depending on the date of randomization. ]
  2. The change in step counts from baseline. [ Time Frame: Participants will be followed for 14 to 15 weeks, depending on the date of randomization. ]
  3. The number of days the participants wore the pedometer. [ Time Frame: Participants will be followed for 14 to 15 weeks, depending on the date of randomization. ]


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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria

  • Has received treatment from a UMHS provider within the previous 6 months.
  • BMI ≥ 30
  • Age ≥ 18
  • Must be sedentary, defined by less than 150 minutes of self-reported activity per week.
  • Must have access to a computer with an Internet connection that can accept USB uploads.
  • Must have a Facebook account and have at least 50 friends on it.
  • Must be able to communicate in English.

Exclusion Criteria

  • Currently pregnant
  • Unable to comfortably walk at least a block without the assistance of a cane or walker.
  • Not competent to sign a consent form.
  • Absolute or relative contraindications to walking

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT01811407


Locations
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United States, Michigan
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States, 48109
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Michigan
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: Paul J Resnick, PhD University of Michigan

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Responsible Party: Paul J. Resnick, Professor, University of Michigan
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01811407     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 9010
First Posted: March 14, 2013    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: December 3, 2014
Last Verified: December 2014