Exploring psychosocial mediators of remote physical activity counselling: a secondary analysis of data from a 1-year randomized control trial (Movingcall)

  • Xenia FischerEmail author
  • Lars Donath
  • Lukas Zahner
  • Oliver Faude
  • Markus Gerber


The present study investigated whether psychosocial determinants mediate the effect of a telephone coaching intervention on physical activity levels. Two hundred eighty-eight adults were randomly assigned to a six-month telephone coaching intervention (n = 12 calls) or a control group receiving a single written recommendation. Seven psychosocial determinants as defined in the MoVo model as well as objective and self-reported physical activity levels were measured after 6 and 12 months. Participants also reported which taught intervention strategies (behavior change techniques) they perceived as most useful. Structural equation modeling was used to determine the mediating role of psychosocial determinants. Up to 227 participants with complete data on psychosocial determinants and physical activity were included in the mediation analyses. Compared to the control group, a greater increase in self-reported and objectively assessed physical activity levels was observed the coaching intervention group. The mediation analyses showed that the intervention had a positive effect on self-efficacy, outcome expectations and intention strength after 6 months and on action planning and barrier management after 6 and 12 months. Increases in objectively assessed physical activity after 6 months were mediated by increased barrier management. None of the other psychosocial determinants worked as mediating factors on self-reported or objectively assessed physical activity. The participants perceived ‘action planning’ and ‘problem solving’ as the most useful strategies to increase their physical activity levels. Further understanding of working mechanisms of remote physical activity promotion is needed.


Remote physical activity promotion Psychosocial determinants Mediation Telephone coaching 



The study was funded by the Department of Sport, Exercise and Health of the University of Basel. The interest of the funding body lies in the scientific research question as well as in the enabling of scientific qualifications (master and Ph.D. thesis) which are achieved within this research project. The funding body is independent of any other interests.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Xenia Fischer, Lars Donath, Lukas Zahner, Oliver Faude and Markus Gerber declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Human and animal rights and informed consent

All procedures involving human participants were performed in line with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the ethical principles of the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments. 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.Department of Sport, Exercise and HealthUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Intervention Research in Exercise TrainingGerman Sport University CologneCologneGermany

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