Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
Students within higher education can gain a number of benefits from participating in sport, such as grade improvements and stress reduction. Despite these benefits, participation in sport usually decreases when students begin university. Interventions are therefore needed to increase the performance of this behaviour. Interventions using health psychological theory are more likely to be successful compared to those not using theory. The aim of this study is to increase student participation in recreational sport through the delivery of a mobile health intervention targeting motivation and goal priority.
Who can participate?
Adults aged 18-24 years old who are understanding first-year study at the institution of interest and who own a mobile phone.
What does the study involve?
There are four conditions within the study: attitude only, goal priority only, attitude + goal priority, and active control group. Participants are randomly allocated to one of the four conditions and receive text messages related to their condition (i.e., messages targeting attitude, messages targeting goal priority, and messages targeting attitude and goal priority). Those who are allocated to the control group receive generalised information. Participants are followed up two and four weeks after the start of the study to see how many people are participating in sports.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
The study has a number of benefits. First, participants may find that the intervention encourages the participation in a behaviour that perhaps they are not so familiar with. Next, the behaviour provides a number of health benefits. Finally, participants may gain information that they were previously unaware of relating to sports participation and the psychology underpinning the behaviour.
Where is the study run from?
Leeds Trinity University (UK)
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
December 2017-April 2018
Who is funding the study?
Leeds Trinity University (UK)
Who is the main contact?
Tom St Quinton
A text messaging factorial design targeting motivation and goal priority to increase student participation in university recreational sport
1. The motivational and implemental components will have main effects on self-reported behaviour at follow-up
2. Motivational x implemental interaction effect will result in the combined condition being more effective than each of the individual conditions alone.
The School of Social and Health Sciences Ethics Committee, 25/01/2018, ref: SSHS-2017-083
Factorial design interventional randmoised controlled trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Quality of life
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet
Text messages are sent using ‘Fast SMS’, a messaging service used by businesses to distribute bulk SMS text messages. The factorial design will result in four intervention conditions: attitude only, goal priority only, attitude & goal priority, and active control.
1. Attitude only: text messages targeting the attitude construct are sent three days per week for two weeks.
2. Goal priority only: text messages targeting goal priority are sent three days per week for two weeks.
3. Attitude + goal priority: attitude and goal priority messages are combined within one text message. These are sent three days per week for two weeks.
4. Active control group: the control group are contacted for the same duration and at the same time as the experimental conditions. The content of text messages are generalised information concerning the benefits of sports participation.
The days (i.e., Mon-Sun) and time of day (i.e., morning, afternoon, evening) varies for each message. However, each condition receives a message at the same time. Examples of the text messages to be distributed within each condition can be seen in Table B1. Participants also receive introductory messages and prompts to respond to questionnaires. Such text messages and the message within which they occur can be seen in Table B2.
Using a power 0.8 for each main effect or interaction (all Numerator df = 1), at an alpha of 0.05, and an effect size of f=0.25, G*Power 18.104.22.168 estimates the required sample size to be 128. Taking into consideration an additional 50% for participant dropout) results in a final required sample size of 192 (48 participants per condition).
Participants are randomised to one of four groups using a computer-based random number generator (see Figure A2). Blocked randomisation are used to ensure an equal number of participants in each condition. Blocks of eight are used, with four participants randomised to one of the four conditions (1:1:1:1 allocation). Automated assignment ensure allocation concealment. Both the researchers and study participants are blinded to intervention conditions (i.e., the control group receives generalised information regarding sports participation).
Primary outcome measure
Self-reported behaviour assessing the number of weeks of sports participation are measured using online questionnaires at baseline, T1 (two weeks after baseline) and T2 (four weeks after baseline)
Secondary outcome measures
Changes in psychological processes (attitude, intention, goal priority) are measured using online questionnaires at baseline, T1 (two weeks after baseline) and T2 (four weeks after baseline)
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Aged 18-25 years
2. Undertaking first-year study at the university
3. Own a mobile phone
4. Have not taken any medication for a heart condition within the past year
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Are not aged 18-25 years
2. Are not undertaking first-year study at the university
3. Do not own a mobile phone
4. Have taken medication for a heart condition within the past year
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Leeds Trinity University
Brownberrie Lane Horsforth
Leeds Trinity University
Funding Body Type
private sector organisation
Funding Body Subtype
Universities (academic only)
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Study findings will sought to be published within health psychology journals (i.e., Psychology and Health, Health Psychology Review, and the British Journal of Health Psychology). We intend to publish around one year after the overall trial end date. Additional documentation will be available upon request.
IPD sharing statement:
The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are/will be available upon request from Investigator: Tom St Quinton, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Available on request
Basic results (scientific)