BACKGROUND: Active transport has great potential to increase physical activity in older adolescents (17-18 years). Therefore, a theory- and evidence-based intervention was developed aiming to promote active transport among older adolescents. The intervention aimed to influence psychosocial factors of active transport since this is the first step in order to achieve a change in behaviour. The present study aimed to examine the effect of the intervention on the following psychosocial factors: intention to use active transport after obtaining a driving licence, perceived benefits, perceived barriers, subjective norm, self-efficacy, habit and awareness towards active transport.

METHODS: A matched control three-arm study was conducted and consisted of a pre-test post-test design with intervention and control schools in Flanders (northern part of Belgium). A lesson promoting active transport was implemented as the last lesson in the course 'Driving Licence at School' in intervention schools (intervention group 1). Individuals in intervention group 2 received this active transport lesson and, in addition, they were asked to become a member of a Facebook group on active transport. Individuals in the control group only attended the regular course 'Driving Licence at School'. Participants completed a questionnaire assessing socio-demographics and psychosocial variables at baseline, post (after one week) and follow-up (after eight weeks). To assess intervention effects, multilevel linear mixed models analyses were performed.

RESULTS: A sample of 441 older adolescents (56.8% female; 17.4 (0.7) years) was analysed. For awareness regarding the existence of car sharing schemes, a significant increase in awareness from baseline to post measurement was found within intervention group 1 (p = 0.001) and intervention group 2 (p = 0.030) compared to the control group in which no change was found. In addition, a significant increase in awareness from baseline to follow-up measurement was found within intervention group 1 (p = 0.043) compared to a decrease in awareness from baseline to follow-up measurement within the control group.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the intervention was not effective to increase psychosocial correlates of active transport. Future intervention studies should search for alternative strategies to motivate and involve this hard to reach target group.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0168594
Number of pages20
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ID: 29472133