A web-based physical activity intervention benefits persons with low self-efficacy in COPD: results from a randomized controlled trial

  • Stephanie A. RobinsonEmail author
  • Stephanie L. Shimada
  • Karen S. Quigley
  • Marilyn L. Moy


Promoting physical activity (PA) is of top priority in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This study examines the influence of an internet-delivered intervention on the relationship between exercise self-efficacy and changes in PA, physical health, and exercise capacity in COPD. 112 U.S. Veterans with COPD were randomized to either a comparison (pedometer alone) or an intervention group (pedometer plus access to an internet-mediated PA intervention). There was a significant interaction between baseline exercise self-efficacy and randomization group on change in PA. In the comparison group, there was a significant relationship between higher baseline exercise self-efficacy and greater change in PA, whereas in the intervention group, improvements in PA were independent of level of baseline self-efficacy. Similar patterns were found with physical health and exercise capacity as outcomes. The use of an internet-mediated intervention significantly benefited persons with COPD who had low baseline self-efficacy to increase PA and physical health.

Clinical trial registration The randomized clinical trial was registered on (NCT01772082).


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD Self-efficacy Physical activity Randomized trial Technology 



We thank the Veterans who participated in this study. The views expressed in this article do not communicate an official position of the Department of Veterans Affairs.


This study was funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Rehabilitation Research and Development Service [Career Development Award 2, F6847W (Moy); CDA2 IK2RX002165 (Wan); Merit O1150-R (Moy)], and the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Academic Affiliations Advanced Fellowship Program in Health Services Research, the Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research (CHOIR), Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Robinson).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Stephanie A. Robinson, Stephanie L. Shimada, Karen S. Quigley, and Marilyn L. Moy declare they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans HospitalBedfordUSA
  2. 2.School of Public HealthBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  3. 3.Northeastern UniversityBostonUSA
  4. 4.VA Boston Healthcare SystemBostonUSA
  5. 5.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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