Background: Longitudinal studies have shown that objectively measured walking behaviour is subject to seasonal variation, with people walking more in summer compared to winter. Seasonality therefore may have the potential to bias the results of randomised controlled trials if there are not adequate statistical or design controls. Despite this there are no studies that assess the impact of seasonality on walking behaviour in a randomised controlled trial, to quantify the extent of such bias. Further there have been no studies assessing how season impacts on the psychological predictors of walking behaviour to date. The aim of the present study was to assess seasonal differences in a) objective walking behaviour and b) Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) variables during a randomised controlled trial of an intervention to promote walking. Methods: 315 patients were recruited to a two-arm cluster randomised controlled trial of an intervention to promote walking in primary care. A series of repeated measures ANCOVAs were conducted to examine the effect of season on pedometer measures of walking behaviour and TPB measures, assessed immediately post-intervention and six months later. Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to assess whether season moderated the prediction of intention and behaviour by TPB measures. Results: There were no significant differences in time spent walking in spring/summer compared to autumn/winter. There was no significant seasonal variation in most TPB variables, although the belief that there will be good weather was significantly higher in spring/summer (F = 19.46, p
Bibliographical noteThis is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
- randomised controlled trial
- theory of planned behaviour
- behaviour change