Charity-based incentives motivate young adult cancer survivors to increase physical activity: a pilot randomized clinical trial

Abstract

To determine the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of an eHealth intervention with charity-based incentives to increase physical activity (PA) among young adult cancer survivors. Participants were randomized into two groups: PA (N = 25; Fitbit, step goal, electronic weekly newsletter) or PA + Charity (N = 26; same as PA plus charity donation if step goal achieved). At baseline and 12 weeks, steps/day were assessed using an activPAL. Motivation (e.g., BREQ-3) and patient reported outcomes (e.g., sleep quality, fatigue) were self-reported. The mean age was 36.8 years, 56.9% were Non-Hispanic White. We retained 82% (42/51) of participants. The PA + Charity vs. PA group had significantly higher satisfaction with intervention experience (100% vs 85%), greater increases in steps/day (1689 vs 516) and increases in overall self-determination score (13.5 vs 2.2). Both groups significantly improved sleep quality and reduced fatigue. A low-intensity eHealth intervention with charity-based incentives was feasible, acceptable, increased PA and self-determination.

Trial registration Clinicaltrials.gov NCT03322059.

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Fig. 1

Data Sharing

Upon acceptance, data will be openly available in a public repository that issues datasets with DOIs.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the study participants and the cancer support networks for sharing the recruitment materials.

Funding

This project supported by the Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities Grant at California Polytechnic State University and the William and Linda Frost Fund. Dr. Phillips is supported by The National Cancer Institute K07CA196840.

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Correspondence to Sarah Kozey Keadle.

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Conflict of interest

Dr. Phelan reports receiving a grant from WW unrelated to the current work. Sarah Kozey Keadle, Leah Meuter and Siobhan M. Phillips declare that they have no other conflicts of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

The study complies with ethical standards for the protection of human subjects. All study procedures were approved by the Califorina Polytechnic Institutional Review Board (Protocol # 2018–188-CP) and participants provided written informed consent. The study is registered as NCT03322059 at clinicaltrials.gov.

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Keadle, S.K., Meuter, L., Phelan, S. et al. Charity-based incentives motivate young adult cancer survivors to increase physical activity: a pilot randomized clinical trial. J Behav Med (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-021-00218-w

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Keywords

  • Behavioral intervention
  • Financial incentives
  • Cancer survivor
  • Physical activity
  • Steps
  • Young adult