A Systematic Review Approach Using the Behaviour Change Wheel, COM-B Behaviour Model and Theoretical Domains Framework to Evaluate Physical Activity Engagement in a University Setting


Ndupu, L. 2021. A Systematic Review Approach Using the Behaviour Change Wheel, COM-B Behaviour Model and Theoretical Domains Framework to Evaluate Physical Activity Engagement in a University Setting. Thesis
AuthorsNdupu, L.
Qualification namePhD

Introduction: Physical activity has been recognised to offer health benefits and reduce the
risks of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension,
cancer, depression, and atherosclerosis. However, even with the known health benefits of
physical activity, over a quarter of adults globally are physically inactive, which is a serious
public health concern and thus calls for concerted efforts to increase physical activity levels in
diverse settings. A university is a unique setting in which to promote health enhancing
behaviours, such as physical activity, because it offers opportunity to be active (e.g., in-built
sports facilities), provides flexible working conditions to enable staff and students a reasonable
level of autonomy in managing their individual time and endowed with highly educated and
well-informed staff base, which has been previously shown to influence individuals’
engagement in physical activity. Therefore, the overall aim of the PhD research project was to
understand the barriers and enablers to physical activity among university staff and students,
design an intervention informed by this understanding and implement intervention to address
these barriers, in order to create behaviours that lead to better engagement in physical activity.

Methods: A mixed-methods experimental design was utilised throughout the research,
incorporating both qualitative (group interviews) and quantitative (surveys) data collection.
The four experimental studies that make up this programme of work were designed using
established behaviour change models, i.e., the Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW), the
Capability, Opportunity, Motivation-Behaviour (COM-B) model and/or the Theoretical
Domains Framework (TDF). The qualitative data were analysed in Nvivo12 using deductive
content analysis, while the qualitative data were analysed using SPSS Statistical software 26.0,
with significance level set at 0.05.

Results: Six prominent domains were identified as enablers and barriers to physical activity
among university staff and students, i.e., knowledge; social influences; social/professional role
and identity; environmental context and resources; beliefs about capabilities; and intentions
(study 1). About 78.0% of the administrative staff and 67.0% of the PhD students were
physically inactive, i.e., achieving less than 600 MET-minutes/week of moderate intensity
physical activity. A multiple regression analysis showed that of the 14 domains of the TDF,
the ‘physical skills’ domain (t 106 = 2.198, p=0.030) was the only significant predictor of
physical inactivity among the administrative staff, while the ‘knowledge’ (t 99 = 2.018, p=
0.046) and ‘intentions’ (t 99 = 4.240, p=0.001) were the only predictors of physical inactivity
amongst the PhD students (study 2). The administrative staff that were assigned to engage in
supervised exercise sessions (experimental group) reported higher physical skills scores and
overall physical activity levels compared to the control (study 3). The PhD students that were
allocated to the education and intentions group, who received educational materials and asked
to form implementation intentions of times, days and places they intend to carry out physical
activity, reported higher overall physical activity levels compared to other treatment groups,
i.e., intentions only, education only and control groups (study 4).

Conclusion: This thesis contributes to the knowledge on adult’s physical activity by detailing
the development, implementation, and assessment of a bespoke brief 4-week behaviour change
intervention that effectively increased university administrative staff and PhD students’ total
physical activity levels, as well as time spent in physical activity weekly. The university was
established as a unique setting to promote health-enhancing behaviour such as promotion of
physical activity. Therefore, theory-based interventions underpinned by the BCW, COM-B
model and TDF may provide an effective strategy to improve university staff and students’
engagement in physical activity, as well as their overall wellbeing.

KeywordsPhysical Activity; Behaviour Change; University; Intervention; Theoretical Domains Framework; COM-B Model; Behaviour Change Wheel
PublisherUniversity of Derby
Engineering and Technology, University of Derby
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/626011
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Deposited24 Sep 2021, 10:40
Publication dates09 Sep 2021

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

ContributorsBussell, Chris (Advisor), Faghy, Mark (Advisor), Staples, Vicki (Advisor) and Lipka, Sigrid (Advisor)
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