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Using groups to support behaviour change in Exercise Referral Schemes

posted Jun 30, 2015, 12:46 PM by Ben Jane   [ updated Jul 29, 2015, 1:39 PM ]
On Wednesday, 1st July, 2015, Helen Tite of The Core Health Consultancy and I ran a workshop at the SouthWest REPs Roadshow. This is a resource that is intended to complement that session.

Since the NQAF in 2001, all key recommendations on Exercise Referral Schemes (ERS) have highlighted the importance of behaviour change techniques (BCTs) in the development of more active lifestyles for those with chronic health conditions. Despite the fact that all exercise professionals undertaking the REPs L3 exercise referral qualification will have been exposed to some BCTs, key recommendations have highlighted the fact that not enough attention is being given to supporting behaviour change in practice.

This session briefly reviewed some of the key BCTs and then discussed how the use of group activity programmes can create the environment for change. There are many health and exercise professionals that have training in BCTs and many that are trained to deliver group exercise but few that have been trained to apply BCTs in groups. There are many opportunities and challenges when working with groups and the session attempted to share best practice and shared key guidelines for establishing effective groups.

Key Points
Make time to talk
Consider group cohesion (environment, structure and process)
Participant driven content
Be reflective
Seek out good practice
Multi-disciplinary training
Innovative team working
Work on sustainability

Slides from the workshop


Other resources on this website

Social Cognitive Theory for Exercise Professionals

Other Links

Further Reading and Resources

American College of Sports Medicine. (2013). ACSM's Behavioral Aspects of Physical Activity and Exercise. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Bolitho, S., Lawrence, D., & McNish, E. (2013). The Complete Guide to Behavioural Change for Sport and Fitness Professionals. A&C Black.

Burke, S. M., Carron, A. V., Eys, M. A., Ntoumanis, N., & Estabrooks, P. A. (2006). Group versus individual approach? A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of interventions to promote physical activity. Sport and Exercise Psychology Review, 2(1), 19-35 [full text]

Estabrooks, P. A. et al (2014). Ch 8: Group integration interventions in exercise. Theory, Practice and Future DIrections In Group Dynamics in Exercise and Sport Psychology (2nd Ed), 164-182 [1st Edition]

Gourlan, M., Bernard, P., Bortholon, C., Romain, A., Lareyre, O., Carayol, M., ... & Boiché, J. (2014). Efficacy of theory-based interventions to promote physical activity. A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Health psychology review, 1-74.

Gray, C. M., Hunt, K., Mutrie, N., Anderson, A. S., Leishman, J., Dalgarno, L., & Wyke, S. (2013). Football Fans in Training: the development and optimization of an intervention delivered through professional sports clubs to help men lose weight, become more active and adopt healthier eating habits. BMC public health, 13(1), 232. [full text]

Greaves, C. J., Sheppard, K. E., Abraham, C., Hardeman, W., Roden, M., Evans, P. H., & Schwarz, P. (2011). Systematic review of reviews of intervention components associated with increased effectiveness in dietary and physical activity interventions. BMC public health, 11(1), 119. [full text]

Jackson, D. (2010). How Personal Trainers Can Use Self-Efficacy Theory to Enhance Exercise Behavior in Beginning Exercisers. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 32(3), 67-71.[abstract]
Michie, S. F., West, R., Campbell, R., Brown, J., & Gainforth, H. (2014). ABC of behaviour change theories.
Michie, S., Richardson, M., Johnston, M., Abraham, C., Francis, J., Hardeman, W., ... & Wood, C. E. (2013). The behavior change technique taxonomy (v1) of 93 hierarchically clustered techniques: Building an
international consensus for the reporting of behavior change interventions.
Annals of behavioral medicine, 46
(1), 81-95.[abstract] [key content]

NICE Public Health Guidance PH54: Exercise Referral schemes to promote physical activity

NICE Public Health Guidance PH49: Behaviour Change: Individual Approaches

Prendiville, P. (2008) Developing Facilitation Skills: A Handbook for Group Facilitators [full text]

Prestwich, A., Sniehotta, F. F., Whittington, C., Dombrowski, S. U., Rogers, L., & Michie, S. (2014). Does theory influence the effectiveness of health behavior interventions? Meta-analysis. Health Psychology, 33(5), 465.

Smith, Mark K. (2001; 2009) ‘Facilitating learning and change in groups’ The encyclopaedia of informal education.[full text

Wagner, C. C., & Ingersoll, K. S. (2012). Motivational interviewing in groups. Guilford Press [amazon]

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