Translational Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 52–61 | Cite as

Feasibility and preliminary efficacy of an intervention to reduce older adults’ sedentary behavior

  • Jaclyn P. Maher
  • Martin J. Sliwinski
  • David E. Conroy
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Older adults represent the segment of the population that sits the most. This study evaluated the feasibility, acceptability, safety, and preliminary efficacy of an intervention to reduce sedentary behavior (SB) in older adults that can be disseminated broadly for limited cost and delivered by paraprofessionals with limited training. Senior centers in Central Pennsylvania were randomized to receive one of two healthy aging programs (i.e., intervention or comparison). Participants in both groups attended three 90-min meetings over 2 weeks. Behavior change content was delivered at the second session (i.e., day 7). Forty-two participants (n intervention = 25, n comparison = 17) were recruited from five senior centers. Content for the intervention group focused on reducing SB while comparison group content focused on reducing social isolation. Self-reported SB was assessed on days 7 and 14. Repeated-measures ANOVA revealed a significant group × time interaction for total and weekday, but not weekend, SB. In the week following the delivery of group content, participants in the intervention group reported an average decrease in total SB of 837.8 min/week; however, the comparison group reported a nonsignificant average decrease of 263.0 min/week of total SB. Participants in the intervention group also reported an average decrease in weekday SB of 132.6 min/weekday (d = −0.83) in the week following the delivery of group content; however, the comparison group reported a nonsignificant decrease of 24.0 min/weekday (d = −0.16). There were no significant changes in weekend SB in either group in the week following the delivery of group content. Participants’ attendance, measurement completion, and program ratings were high. Safety issues were minimal. This intervention was feasible to implement and evaluate, acceptable to older adults, and showed promise for reducing older adults’ SB.


Sitting Behavior change Dual-process Aging Hybrid intervention 



This work was supported by the Penn State CTSI Grant (UL1 TR000127) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society of Behavioral Medicine 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaclyn P. Maher
    • 1
    • 2
  • Martin J. Sliwinski
    • 1
  • David E. Conroy
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.The Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA

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