Pro-Change Behavior Change Programs That Focused on Exercise and Stress Management Also Dramatically Improved Overall Well-BeingApril 5th, 2012
West Kingstown, RI – April 4, 2012 – Pro-Change’s computer-tailored intervention (CTI) programs applying the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (TTM) to exercise and stress management simultaneously reduced participants’ health risks while improving multiple areas of well-being. Areas of well-being that were significantly impacted included: physical health, emotional health, life evaluation, and healthy behaviors, according to a new study presented by Healthways, Inc. at the Population Health and Care Coordination Colloquium in Philadelphia in February and now released in the Population Health Management Journal 2012 online at
Participants in a telephonic coaching program group, with exercise as the primary target behavior and stress management as a secondary target, improved healthy behaviors pertaining to exercise (57.3%) and stress management (74.9%). Those in a web-based program group, with stress management as the primary target behavior and exercise as a secondary target, also reported healthy behavior change pertaining to exercise (46.6%) and stress management (64.7%). Both of those groups were significantly more likely to achieve treatment success than the control group, which did not receive telephonic or online interventions for exercise or stress management.
“We know that well-being measures how we feel and experience our daily lives in addition to being predictive of future health care cost,” said James Pope, Vice President and Chief Science Officer, Healthways, Inc. “This study done in collaboration with Pro-Change adds to that knowledge by showing that cost-effective programs, conducted via telephone or online, adequately provide the support required to help populations improve health and well-being, resulting in lower health care costs across the board.”
Although a variety of behaviors relate to well-being (such as physical health, happiness, quality of life, and health care costs), exercise and effective stress management were chosen as the two health behaviors having the greatest potential for changing multiple domains of well-being. Exercise and stress management interventions were chosen since those behaviors were anticipated to have effects on multiple aspects of well-being and would be important components of a well-being improvement system, if proven effective. Results from the trial demonstrated that multiple areas of well-being did show improvement. Those areas of well-being not showing significant change, such as an individual’s access to health care or work environment, were not expected to show changes.
About the Study
The study was conducted on 3,391 individuals using Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc. programs and Healthways, Inc. health coaches. Both treatment groups included Pro-Change CTIs with tailoring based on an individual’s stage of change for a given behavior. The secondary behaviors in each intervention received stage-matched targeting, which only provides guidance on stage of change by giving strategies on the one or two best steps that could lead to the next stage. This type of protocol can simultaneously treat multiple behaviors while reducing the treatment demands on participants and providers.
The exercise coaching group received up to three proactive telephone sessions at 0, 3, and 6 months via outreach by a trained health coach. Coaches used the CTIs to guide all sessions with optimal TTM tailoring for exercise and stage-matched tailoring for stress management, the secondary target. The CTI led the coaches through a series of assessment questions and bulleted tailored feedback, based on stage of change and TTM variables, to guide their participants to the next stage of change. Each telephone session lasted about 20 minutes. The stress management online group received a self-directed Pro-Change web-based intervention with full TTM tailoring for stress management and stage-matched tailoring for exercise.
Those two treatment modalities were used, in part, because telephonic coaching and online CTIs represent the two most commonly applied modalities of scalable wellness interventions. This study was not designed, however, to compare whether telephone coaching produces greater impact than online CTIs or whether exercise, as the primary behavior, is more effective than stress management.
Participants were recruited via the Internet through a survey sampling company that has a national pool of about 1,500,000 potential participants. To be eligible, participants had to report risk in the areas of both exercise (not engaging in moderate or vigorous exercise to national guidelines) and stress (reporting stress that was not being managed effectively) during the screening process.
Healthways (NASDAQ:HWAY) is the leading provider of specialized, comprehensive solutions to help millions of people maintain or improve their health and well-being, and as a result, reduce overall costs. Healthways’ solutions are designed to help healthy individuals stay healthy, mitigate or eliminate lifestyle risk factors that can lead to disease, and optimize care for those with chronic illness. Our proven, evidence-based programs provide highly specific and personalized interventions for each individual in a population, irrespective of age or health status, and are delivered to consumers by phone, mail, Internet, and face-to-face interactions, both domestically and internationally. Healthways also provides a national, fully accredited complementary and alternative Health Provider Network and a national Fitness Center Network, offering convenient access to individuals who seek health services outside of, and in conjunction with, the traditional healthcare system. For more information, please visit www.healthways.com.