Fidelity to theory in PA intervention research

Colleen Keller, Julie Fleury, Souraya Sidani, Barbara Ainsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Research using theory-based interventions to promote regular physical activity (PA) has increased substantially over the past decade. The purpose of this article is to provide a review and summary of PA intervention research specific to fidelity to intervention theory, providing an overview of the concept of fidelity to intervention theory, defining the evaluative components of fidelity: (a) conceptualization of the problem, (b) operationalization of the theory, (c) specification of mediating processes, and (d) specification of outcome variables. Using journal scans and computerized literature database searches, the authors identified 470 PA activity intervention studies that incorporated a theoretical perspective. A validity framework explicated by was used to summarize intervention research in light of fidelity to intervention theory. In all, 15 intervention studies met the inclusion criteria and were incorporated into the review. Theoretical models for health behavior change, including social cognitive theory (SCT), cognitive behavioral theory (CBT), the transtheoretical model (TTM, the TTM combined with SCT), the reversal theory (theory of psychological reversals), and the disconnected values theory, were used as a basis for intervention design and evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-311
Number of pages23
JournalWestern journal of nursing research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Adults
  • Cardiovascular
  • Clinicalfocus
  • Exercise
  • Healthbehavior/symptom focus
  • Methods
  • Narrative review
  • Population focus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


Dive into the research topics of 'Fidelity to theory in PA intervention research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this