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Publication - Dr Mark Edwards

    Using self-determination theory to promote adolescent girls' physical activity

    Exploring the theoretical fidelity of the Bristol Girls Dance Project


    Sebire, SJ, Kesten, J, Edwards, MJ, May, TA, Banfield, KJ, Tomkinson, KT, Blair, PS, Bird, EL, Powell, JE & Jago, R, 2016, ‘Using self-determination theory to promote adolescent girls' physical activity: Exploring the theoretical fidelity of the Bristol Girls Dance Project’. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, vol 24., pp. 100-110


    Objectives: To report the theory-based process
    evaluation of the Bristol Girls’ Dance Project, a cluster-randomised controlled
    trial to increase adolescent girls’ physical activity.

    Design: A mixed-method process evaluation of
    the intervention’s self-determination theory components comprising lesson
    observations, post-intervention interviews and focus groups.

    Method: Four intervention dance lessons per
    dance instructor were observed, audio recorded and rated to estimate the use of
    need-supportive teaching strategies. Intervention
    participants (n=281) reported their dance instructors’ provision of autonomy-support.
    Semi-structured interviews with the dance instructors (n = 10) explored
    fidelity to the theory and focus groups were conducted with participants (n =
    59) in each school to explore their receipt of the intervention and views on
    the dance instructors’ motivating style.

    Results: Although
    instructors accepted the theory-based approach, intervention fidelity was
    variable. Relatedness support was the most commonly observed need-supportive
    teaching behaviour, provision of structure was moderate and autonomy-support
    was comparatively low. The qualitative findings identified how instructors
    supported competence and developed trusting relationships with participants.
    Fidelity was challenged where autonomy provision was limited to option choices
    rather than input into the pace or direction of lessons and where controlling
    teaching styles were adopted, often to manage disruptive behaviour.  

    successes and challenges to achieving theoretical fidelity in the Bristol
    Girls’ Dance Project may help explain the intervention effects and can more
    broadly inform the design of theory-based complex interventions aimed at
    increasing young people’s physical activity in after-school settings.

    Full details in the University publications repository