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Cancer Control Research

5R21CA102470-02
Thompson, Deborah I.
DUAL CODE THEORY & YOUTH PHYSICAL ACTIVITY SELF EFFICACY

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Physical activity among youth has declined over several decades. Low levels of physical activity have been associated with increased risk of both obesity and certain types of cancers. It is imperative that this trend be halted and/or reversed. Current methods attempting to increase physical activity among youth do not appear to be effective at promoting increased physical activity among youth, suggesting that innovative approaches are needed. Barriers, such as lack of time and interest, are commonly cited reasons youth do not engage in more physical activity. Self efficacy, a critical mediator of behavior change and a common target of interventions, affects the likelihood one will attempt to overcome barriers. Procedures to increase self efficacy for physical activity among youth need to be developed, tested, and theoretically explicated. Information processing techniques have been used to increase cognitive effort, and, thereby, impact information storage and retrieval. Thus, interventions to effect change in physical activity among youth would appear to benefit from including an emphasis on physical activity self efficacy to overcome barriers in a manner likely to enhance information processing. Computerized programs offer interesting possibilities for systematically manipulating characteristics of materials (e.g., visual and verbal information channels) that would affect information processing. Dual Code Theory predicts that information presented in a manner that utilizes visual and verbal processing channels simultaneously will result in more information processing and, therefore, learning. The studies in this proposal examine the effect of presentation format and processing channel on both information processing and physical activity self efficacy. Computerized multi media programs will be developed using Dual Code Theory and administered to 11-15 year old youth. In Study 1, the effect of presentation format on information processing and physical activity self efficacy will be examined. In Study 2, a factorial design will be used to more closely examine the effect of processing channel (i.e., visual vs. verbal) on information processing and physical activity self efficacy in computerized programs. The significance of these studies is that they will contribute to our understanding of the role of presentation format and processing channel in computerized multi media programs promoting increased physical activity self efficacy among youth.


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