Skip to main content

Delivery fidelity of the REACT (REtirement in ACTion) physical activity and behaviour maintenance intervention for community dwelling older people with mobility limitations

Abstract

Background

Fidelity assessment of behaviour change interventions is vital to understanding trial outcomes. This study assesses the delivery fidelity of behaviour change techniques used in the Retirement in ACTion (REACT) randomised controlled trial. REACT is a community-based physical activity (PA) and behaviour maintenance intervention to prevent decline of physical functioning in older adults (≥ 65 years) at high risk of mobility-related disability in the UK.

Methods

The delivery fidelity of intervention behaviour change techniques and delivery processes were assessed using multi-observer coding of purposively sampled in-vivo audio recordings (n = 25) of health behaviour maintenance sessions over 12-months. Delivery fidelity was scored using a modified Dreyfus scale (scores 0–5) to assess competence and completeness of delivery for each technique and delivery process. “Competent delivery” was defined as a score of 3 points or more for each item. Examples of competent intervention delivery were identified to inform recommendations for future programme delivery and training.

Results

The mean intervention fidelity score was 2.5 (SD 0.45) with delivery fidelity varying between techniques/processes and intervention groups. Person-centred delivery, Facilitating Enjoyment and Promoting Autonomy were delivered competently (scoring 3.0 or more). There was scope for improvement (score 2.0—2.9) in Monitoring Progress (Acknowledging and Reviewing), Self-Monitoring, Monitoring Progress (Eliciting Benefits of Physical Activity), Goal Setting and Action Planning, Modelling, Supporting Self-Efficacy for Physical Activity and Supporting Relatedness. Managing Setbacks and Problem Solving was delivered with low fidelity. Numerous examples of both good and sub-optimal practice were identified.

Conclusions

This study highlights successes and improvements needed to enhance delivery fidelity in future implementation of the behavioural maintenance programme of the REACT intervention. Future training of REACT session leaders and assessment of delivery fidelity needs to focus on the delivery of Goal setting and Action Planning, Modelling, Supporting Relatedness, Supporting Self-Efficacy for Physical Activity, and Managing Setbacks/ Problem Solving.

Peer Review reports

Background

Physical activity (PA) interventions that incorporate behaviour change strategies or techniques (BCTs) have been shown to be effective at increasing physical activity levels but reported effectiveness of these interventions varies significantly [1,2,3,4,5]. Behaviour change interventions are complex, typically employing numerous components that are intrinsically linked and are difficult to design, implement, evaluate, and replicate [6, 7]. Assessments of intervention fidelity provide insight into the proposed mechanisms of behaviour change, better understanding of how change takes place, why changes may not be observed, and whether any positive change BCTs can be replicated [7,8,9]. Intervention fidelity is the extent to which an intervention is delivered as intended and monitoring it can enhance an intervention’s internal and external validity [7,8,9].

Without an understanding of fidelity, an intervention could produce significant results, but it would be impossible to say whether this was a function of the intervention content or the addition of unknown content [7, 10]. Alternatively, an intervention may produce non-significant results, but without understanding fidelity, it is difficult to know if this is due to an ineffective intervention or a failure to deliver its active components [7, 10]. As a result, an intervention that may have been effective if it had been delivered correctly may be misleadingly deemed ineffective [7, 10].

A treatment fidelity framework developed by the behaviour change consortium (BCC) outlines five domains of treatment fidelity [8, 9]. These are; study design, provider training, treatment delivery, treatment receipt, and treatment enactment [8, 9]. Intervention delivery fidelity assesses whether the intervention was delivered as designed; i.e., did the person/s delivering the intervention adhere to or deviate from intervention protocol, and if so, how [8]? This concept overlaps with the MRC process evaluation component of implementation [7]. A recent systematic review suggested that there is a lack of robust fidelity assessment within the field of physical activity research since objective measures of fidelity are rare [11].

The current study assesses the delivery fidelity of the Retirement in ACTion (REACT) study, a pragmatic, randomised controlled trial of a community-based physical activity and behaviour maintenance intervention to prevent decline of physical functioning in older adults [12]. In addition, it identifies examples of good practice to inform future training in the delivery of the REACT intervention and other community-based, active ageing programmes.

Methods

Study design

The REACT study was a pragmatic multi-centre, two arm, single blind, parallel-group, randomised controlled trial (RCT) with an internal pilot phase, incorporating comprehensive process and economic evaluations [13]. Intervention sessions were delivered over 12 months, in two phases (adoption (week 1 – 24) and maintenance (Week 24 – 52)). Exercise sessions were twice weekly for the first 12 weeks, then weekly up to 52 weeks [13]. A series of health behaviour maintenance sessions were delivered weekly from weeks 9 to 24, then monthly from weeks 24 to 52. These sessions included BCTs and processes to a) enhance motivation; b) help participants set realistic goals for sustainable PA; c) identify possible barriers and ways to overcome them; d) encourage social support; and e) support participants to use BCTs (e.g. self-regulation techniques like self-monitoring) to maintain physical activity behaviour change [13].

All REACT sessions were led by a REACT session leader, exercise professionals trained to deliver exercise for older adults in a safe manner. REACT session leaders were all qualified to at least Level 3 (Exercise Referral Diploma or equivalent) and received specific training in the delivery of the REACT health behaviour maintenance sessions. This training focused on intervention delivery methods, communication styles, the REACT logic model, and BCTs [13]. Training also included detailed session plans and a REACT session manual developed by the intervention designers to ensure consistency and fidelity of intervention delivery [13]. A sample REACT health behaviour maintenance session plan can be found in Additional file 1. There was no formal assessment of session leader competence to deliver REACT health behaviour maintenance session content at the end training period [13].

A process evaluation of the REACT intervention was designed to test the REACT Logic Model which illustrates intervention processes and proposes mechanisms of impact (Fig. 1). This process evaluation included an assessment of the delivery fidelity of the intervention, which was designed to inform further refinement of the intervention and future implementation, as well as to generate data to help interpret the trial findings on intervention effectiveness and their likely generalisability [13]. The intervention fidelity evaluation was an observational study based on observer rating of in-vivo audio recordings of the REACT health behaviour maintenance sessions. Examples of good practice in intervention delivery were identified to inform recommendations for future programme delivery and training.

Fig. 1
figure 1

REACT Intervention Logic Model

Theoretical framework underpinning the REACT intervention

The theoretical basis of REACT health behaviour maintenance sessions draws on two overlapping psychological theories; Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) [14] and Self-Determination Theory (SDT) [15, 16] to provide the BCTs and processes for supporting behaviour change. These included key behaviour change processes from SCT (e.g. Self-Efficacy and Modelling) alongside BCTs such as, Monitoring Progress (acknowledging/ reviewing and eliciting the benefits of PA), Self-Monitoring, Managing Setbacks and Problem Solving, Goal Setting and Action Planning [14] classified within the Behaviour Change Taxonomy [17] and key motivational processes from SDT (autonomy, competence and relatedness) [15, 16].

Sampling

Recordings of the REACT health behaviour maintenance sessions were purposively sampled to include a diverse sample of sessions based on, a) coverage of key BCTs and processes included in the session plans (the BCTs or processes present in each sampled session are shown in Table 1), b) intervention provider (organisations responsible for delivering the intervention sessions) and intervention session leader, and c) the inclusion of sessions relating to key transition points in the intervention. Key transition points included;

  • The first health behaviour maintenance session (Week 9)

  • The transition from two exercise sessions a week to one exercise session a week (Week 13) where participants were encouraged to source physical activity opportunities independently from the REACT programme

  • The transition from one health behaviour maintenance session per week, to one per month (Week 24)

  • A typical monthly session between week 24 and 52: Week 28 was sampled, which focused on re-visiting and reinforcing motivation and goal setting for home and neighbourhood-based physical activities and exercise

  • The final two health behaviour maintenance sessions (Week 48 and Week 52). These sessions focused on preparing people to be active beyond the end of the REACT programme

Table 1 Behaviour Change Techniques used in each sampled health behaviour maintenance session

Measures

Fidelity checklist

Delivery fidelity (content and quality) was monitored via the application of a delivery fidelity checklist applied to audio-recordings of health behaviour maintenance sessions. The 11-item checklist was designed by the first author (RC) and REACT research team members who developed the health behaviour maintenance sessions (CG, AS) to a) assess key intervention processes and BCTs illustrated in the REACT Logic Model (Fig. 1), and b) measure the extent to which REACT session leaders delivered the intervention BCTs and processes as intended. Each checklist item reflected a key BCT or process and was defined in terms of a set of intended techniques or practices (Table 2). Audio recording, using an Olympus VN-741PC digital voice recorder, was deemed to be more feasible and less intrusive than using video recordings [18].

Table 2 REACT Intervention BCTs and processes included in the intervention fidelity analysis

The rating scale applied to the REACT intervention fidelity checklist is based on a six-point Dreyfus scale [19] widely used for assessing competence in the delivery of clinical consultations. This is used to measure the session leaders’ adherence to the use of intervention BCTs and processes, as well as the skill with which they are delivered (Table 3). The Dreyfus Scale extends from (0) indicating that the facilitator did not deliver the intervention BCT appropriately – either it was badly executed or not executed enough—to (5) indicating the BCT is delivered exceptionally well (Table 3) [19]. Key features of each BCT and detailed scoring instructions for using the fidelity measure to assess delivery fidelity of the REACT health behaviour maintenance sessions can be found in Additional file 2.

Table 3 The adapted Dreyfus scale for scoring REACT delivery fidelity

Scoring and reliability

To reduce subjectivity in the scoring process, two coders (RC and CG) independently coded sessions (n = 10), followed by discussions to resolve any discrepancies. If discrepancies in scoring between coders exceeded more than 1 point on the 6-point Likert scale, the sessions were discussed and re coded. The remaining sessions were then coded by one coder (RC). The sample frame for sessions to be double-coded was based on diversity and achieving a representative subsample, based on variation in session leaders, sites, locations and weeks sampled. We adopted this “iterative calibration” approach, whereby the coders compared notes and ideas after coding every 2–3 sessions. This led to convergence of the coding approach with little or no disagreement after 4 iterations. As advocated by other assessments of delivery fidelity [11, 20, 21] the coding of delivery fidelity was anchored to the key heuristic that a score of 3 was considered to represent “competent delivery” – i.e. delivery that was considered sufficient to deliver the intended BCTs or processes of the intervention. The range of scores and their interpretation is provided in Table 3.

Examples of REACT delivery practice

While coding for intervention delivery fidelity, researchers noted down examples of theorised and non-theorised intervention processes being delivered in practice. These examples were time stamped and tabulated to enable identification of examples of good practice and delivery needing improvement (Additional file 4).

Analysis

For each of the sampled REACT groups, scores representing the delivery fidelity for each fidelity checklist item were recorded on a spreadsheet.

Fidelity checklist scores were summarised by calculating either a mean or a maximum score for each item across all coded sessions. Mean scores were calculated for items representing delivery processes or BCTs that were intended to be delivered in every session (e.g. Person-Centred Delivery and Managing Setbacks and Problem-Solving). Maximum scores were used for items representing delivery processes of BCTs that were intended to be delivered in only some of the sessions (e.g. Self-monitoring and Modelling). A table summarising which checklist items were attributed mean or maximum scores can be found in Additional file 3. A mean item score (combining all 11 items) was then calculated for each group, as well as an overall delivery fidelity score for each intervention group and the intervention as a whole (the mean of all checklist item scores).

Results

From an intended sample of 54 purposively sampled audio-recordings, 25 (46%) were suitable for analysis. The remaining audio files were not available for analysis due to equipment failure (n = 10), session leaders not recording the sessions (n = 17), and sound problems that led to poor quality audio files (n = 2). Audio recording of health behaviour maintenance sessions indicated a mean session length of 24.6 min (SD = 16.74) compared to the planned 45 min. Table 4 shows characteristics of the sessions analysed (intervention group, intervention site, intervention provider, participant numbers and proportion of sampled sessions analysed).

Table 4 Characteristics of sessions sampled

Intervention delivery fidelity

The overall delivery fidelity for the intervention (the mean of the scores for each intervention BCT, taken across all groups at all sites) was 2.5 (SD 0.45), indicating that, overall, intervention delivery fidelity was sub-optimal (Table 5). The overall fidelity broken down by group was broadly similar, with mean intervention scores ranging between 2.4 and 2.9. However, one group (Group 4) had consistently lower delivery fidelity scores (Mean 1.7).

Table 5 Overall delivery fidelity scores for intervention BCTs and processes

The fidelity scores for each BCT and delivery process are outlined in Table 5 and the raw fidelity scores are shown in Additional file 5. Three BCTs/processes; Person-centred delivery, Facilitating Enjoyment, and Promoting Autonomy were scored as having competent delivery fidelity. Six BCTs/ processes; Monitoring progress (acknowledging and reviewing), Self-Monitoring, Monitoring progress (eliciting benefits of PA), Goal Setting and Action Planning, Modelling, Supporting Self-Efficacy for PA, and Relatedness were scored from 2.0 to 2.9, indicating scope for improvement of delivery fidelity. One BCT – Managing Setbacks and Problem Solving had a low delivery fidelity (Mean 1.9, SD 0.81). A detailed list of good practice and practice requiring improvement, associated with each BCT or process is provided in Additional file 4.

Overall intervention fidelity across groups

The overall delivery fidelity scores for each intervention group are shown in Fig. 2. Scope for improvement was reported for Group 1 (Mean 2.5, SD = 0.63), Groups 3 (Mean 2.5, SD = 0.57), Group 6 (Mean 2.8, SD = 1.10), Group 5 (Mean 2.8, SD = 0.43) and Group 2 (Mean 2.4, SD = 0.65). Low delivery fidelity was reported for Group 4 (1.7; SD = 0.81).

Fig. 2
figure 2

Mean (SD) Intervention score by intervention group

Examples of REACT delivery practice

A wide range of examples were identified of both ‘good practice’ and practice requiring improvement, observed in delivery of each intervention checklist item. A full list is provided in Additional file 4.

Discussion

The overall mean score for intervention delivery fidelity (2.5, SD = 0.45) indicated that, on average, across the sample studied, there was scope for improvement in the delivery of the behavioural and maintenance support components of the REACT intervention. There were several examples of good practice, but also several examples of practice requiring improvement and practice that contradicted the intended delivery model. There was considerable variation in delivery fidelity between intervention BCTs and processes, between session leaders and between intervention groups. Key BCTs needing improvement of delivery fidelity included Monitoring progress (eliciting benefits of PA), Goal Setting and Action Planning, Modelling, Supporting Self-efficacy for PA, Supporting Relatedness. A key BCT scoring low delivery fidelity was Managing Setbacks and Problem Solving. The variation in delivery fidelity between groups illustrates the importance of ensuring consistency of delivery fidelity in group-based interventions, as poor facilitation in one group or centre could undermine a) effectiveness for participants of that group (up to 15 per REACT group) and b) effectiveness of the entire intervention.

The current study adds to an emerging body of work on intervention fidelity [11, 20,21,22,23]. It is consistent with this evidence in finding that the quality in the delivery of complex behavioural interventions varies considerably between session leaders and from group to group. The inter-group variation in fidelity may reflect variations in intra-group dynamics, so teaching skills for managing these dynamics could be an important consideration for future training of intervention facilitators [24]. Other studies have used a mixed-methods approach (interviews alongside session observation) to assess fidelity of exercise session delivery [23]. Hence, in future research, it may be possible to combine fidelity analysis of both exercise and behavioural /education components for multi-modal programmes like REACT.

Reasons for lower delivery fidelity varied from incomplete delivery of BCTs or processes to missing opportunities to deliver a BCT or process. In some instances, BCTs were delivered, but there was little adaptation for different contexts, or checking for participant understanding, or summarising of discussions. This could be due to a lack of experience in using the intended BCTs or processes or alternatively poor performance could be due to lack of engagement skills and inability to facilitate a wider discussion on the topic. Time constraints are also a potential reason for lower delivery fidelity of BCTs. The presence of time-constraints was also implied by the mean session delivery time of 24.6 min compared with the intended 45 min.

A systematic review of physical activity interventions in older adults, which assessed associations between intervention effectiveness and the use of specific BCTs, suggested that some self-regulation techniques may not be acceptable to older adults [25, 26]. This may be because they are less likely to be concerned with attaining a particular level of physical activity and more concerned with the associated enjoyment and social connectedness of the group experience [25,26,27]. Further evidence of the poor acceptability of self-regulatory BCTs comes from a recent qualitative study which suggested age-related cognitive decline could play a role in reducing acceptability and the effectiveness of self-regulatory BCTs [28]. Hence, the sub-optimal delivery of self-regulation techniques in the REACT study may, to some extent, reflect resistance to such techniques by the participants, which the session leaders responded to by downplaying these elements of the intervention. Participant “pushback” has been reported as a factor in lower delivery fidelity for physical activity-related BCTs in an intervention using physical activity to assist smoking reduction [21]. Taken together, these studies suggest that participant engagement with BCTs could play an important role in delivery fidelity [29].

As well as self-regulation, low scores for the social processes of Supporting Relatedness and Modelling were observed. As such, important elements of the intervention’s underlying theory (SDT and SCT) were not proactively delivered by session leaders [30, 31]. Despite this, it may be the case that participants gained significant encouragement and motivation from social interactions and mutual support within the group setting [24]. It is important to stress that fidelity of delivery was only assessed in the health behaviour maintenance sessions and not in the exercise sessions. In-vivo observation of some of the REACT intervention exercise sessions suggested that there was evidence that session leaders actively supported processes such as modelling and relatedness throughout delivery of the exercise component of the intervention. Furthermore, when considering the time afforded to the health behaviour maintenance sessions, exercise professionals may have viewed their primary role as delivering the exercise session, which they may have been more competent in delivering anyway, with the health behaviour maintenance session being supplementary.

Strengths and limitations

Assessing intervention fidelity using coding of audio-recorded intervention delivery sessions is considered a gold standard method [8]. Although time-consuming and labour-intensive, this method allowed direct observation of intervention delivery and an assessment that was specifically tailored to the REACT intervention and its associated logic model (Fig. 1). Scoring was based on a validated response scale designed for coding the acquisition of skills and reliability was enhanced by using independent coders for the first 10 sessions to calibrate the coding and minimise subjective bias. The notes taken during coding of the recordings allowed the gathering of examples of both good delivery practice and delivery practice needing improvement. This both added richness to the quantitative assessment and provided real-life examples and scenarios that can be used (as a basis for discussion, practice exercises, or illustration of good practice) in future REACT facilitator training. A further strength of this study was the sampling of recordings across a diverse range of intervention BCTs and a diverse range of REACT intervention sites, session leaders and intervention providers.

Limitations of this study include a relatively small sample size, a common limitation in fidelity research [32], which was not sufficient to allow mediation analysis exploring whether variations in fidelity scores affected REACT intervention outcomes. There is also potential for sampling bias, given that we were only able to score fidelity for 25 out of our intended sample of 54 sessions. This may have led to over-estimation of intervention fidelity if the recordings were more likely to be missing at sites where performance was low. In addition, low availability of data prevents robust comparison of fidelity data between groups, highlighting the importance of establishing a threshold for the percentage of sessions sampled, a limitation of this study. Future fidelity studies should consider establishing such a threshold to reduce the risk of sampling bias.

Furthermore, the rating approach used was subjective, so there is no definitive way to ensure that a score of 3 truly represents “competent” delivery. Despite this, raters were confident that there was clear identification of areas needs for improvement in the delivery of the health behaviour maintenance sessions and the process yielded clear ideas for how intervention delivery can be improved. In addition, the iterative calibration approach used for checking coding reliability did not allow for testing of inter-rater reliability. However, an additional post-calibration check on inter-rater reliability could be included in future intervention fidelity studies.

Recommendations for practice

Future training of REACT session leaders should include examples of competent delivery that have been identified in this fidelity study (Additional file 4). Future REACT training courses should particularly focus on the BCTs and processes that were identified here as having sub-optimal delivery fidelity. Involving session leaders and participants in the refinement of the health behaviour maintenance sessions and translation of theoretical constructs and BCTs into deliverable sessions may lead to better delivery fidelity [33, 34]. In addition, trainees should be given the opportunity to practice delivery of BCTs and have this overseen by professionals with suitable experience in the delivery of relevant BCTs.

Given the variation in delivery fidelity observed here, high quality training and quality assurance processes may be crucial to ensure the effectiveness of the intervention when transitioning from the context of a research study to wider scale community-based implementation. This might, for example, involve rating of delivery fidelity for each trainee post-training (by independent observation or self-rating), performance monitoring, or other methods for identifying ongoing training needs. Booster sessions could be offered throughout the intervention as a means of maintaining trainer competence and confidence in delivery of BCTs. Time pressures on delivery might be addressed by systems-level interventions involving the manipulation of reward criteria by funders or improving internal governance /quality assurance procedures within provider organisations.

Recommendations for future research

The potential benefit of teaching techniques and skills for promoting positive intra-group dynamics /mutual support for improving the delivery of the intended intervention processes should be explored in further research. The impact of participant reactions to BCTs or “pushback” on delivery fidelity should also be explored.

Considering fidelity data alongside qualitative data from facilitator and participant interviews, as well as quantitative process data would add depth and rigour through the triangulation of data from different sources [20, 32, 35,36,37]. For example, data from facilitator interviews would allow exploration of possible reasons for low delivery fidelity of BCTs and the challenges faced by session leaders in delivering the intended programme. Data from interviews with participants could lead to a better understanding of variations in receipt, enactment and intervention outcomes [10]. Using questionnaires to measure changes in the intended psychosocial /cognitive targets of the intervention such as self-efficacy, autonomy and relatedness across the whole sample would allow fidelity data to be related to intervention effects on these measures.

Conclusions

There is a clear scope for improvement in the delivery of both self-regulation processes and social /relatedness-building processes within the REACT intervention. There is also a need to improve the consistency of delivery among session leaders and among groups. Our synthesis of the findings generated several recommendations for future intervention delivery. The integration of fidelity assessment into intervention design and delivery, involving exercise session leaders in the intervention design, and conducting mixed-methods process evaluations has the potential to inform the iterative improvements in the content and effectiveness of behaviour change interventions promoting physical activity.

Availability of data and materials

The raw data scores for intervention fidelity components are available in Additional file 5. The audio data from which these scores are derived cannot be shared publicly, as they are not anonymised. Participants may refer to people or places that could lead to their identification, or identification of the intervention provider. The research funding does not allow for transcribing and anonymising of this large body of audio data.

Abbreviations

BCC:

Behaviour Change Consortium

BCTs:

Behaviour Change Techniques

PA:

Physical Activity

RCT:

Randomised Controlled Trial

REACT:

REtirement in ACTion

SCT:

Social Cognitive Theory

SDT:

Self-Determination Theory

References

  1. Greaves CJ, Sheppard K, Abraham C, Hardeman W, Roden M, Evans P, et al. Systematic review of reviews of intervention components associated with increased effectiveness in dietary and physical activity interventions. BMC Public Health. 2011;11(1):119–30.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Hillsdon M, Foster C, Thorogood M. Interventions for promoting physical activity. Cochr Database Syst Rev (Online). 2005(1).

  3. Murray JM, Brennan SF, French DP, Patterson CC, Kee F, Hunter RF. Effectiveness of physical activity interventions in achieving behaviour change maintenance in young and middle aged adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Soc Sci Med. 2017;192:125–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Orrow G, Kinmonth A-L, Sanderson S, Sutton S. Effectiveness of physical activity promotion based in primary care: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ. 2012;344(7850).

  5. Richards J, Hillsdon M, Thorogood M, Foster C. Face-to-face interventions for promoting physical activity. Cochr Database Syst Rev. 2013;30(9).

  6. Craig P, Dieppe P, Macintyre S, Michie S, Nazareth I, Petticrew M. Developing and evaluating complex interventions: the new Medical Research Council guidance. BMJ. 2008;337(7676):979–83.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Moore GF, Audrey S, Barker M, Bond L, Bonell C, Hardeman W, et al. Process evaluation of complex interventions: medical research council guidance. BMJ: Brit Med J. 2015;350:1258.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Bellg AJ, Borrelli B, Resnick B, Hecht J, Minicucci DS, Ory M, et al. Enhancing treatment fidelity in health behavior change studies: best practices and recommendations from the NIH behavior change consortium. Health Psychol. 2004;23(5):443–51.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Borrelli B. A new tool to assess treatment fidelity and evaluation of treatment fidelity across 10 years of health behavior research. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2005;73(5):852–61.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Borrelli B. The assessment, monitoring, and enhancement of treatment fidelity in public health clinical trials. J Public Health Dent. 2011;71(1):S52–63.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Lambert JD, Greaves CJ, Farrand P, Cross R, Haase AM, Taylor AH. Assessment of fidelity in individual level behaviour change interventions promoting physical activity among adults: a systematic review. BMC Public Health. 2017;17(1):765.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Stathi A, Western M, de Koning J, Perkin O, Withall J, et al. Implementing Physical Activity Programmes for Community-Dwelling Older People with Early Signs of Physical Frailty. In: Nyman SR, Barker A, Haines T, Horton K, Musselwhite C, Peeters G, et al., editors. The Palgrave Handbook of Ageing and Physical Activity Promotion. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2018. p. 401–22.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  13. Stathi A, Withall J, Greaves CJ, Thompson JL, Taylor G, Medina-Lara A, et al. A community-based physical activity intervention to prevent mobility-related disability for retired older people (REtirement in ACTion (REACT)): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials. 2018;19(228):1–12.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Bandura A. Health promotion by social cognitive means. Health Educ Behav. 2004;31(2):143–65.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Deci EL, Ryan RM. Overview of Self-Determination Theory: An Organismic Dialectical Perspective. In: Deci EL, Ryan RM, editors. Handbook of self-determination research. Rochester: University of Rochester Press; 2002.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Ryan RM, editor. Self-determination theory: basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness. Deci EL, editor. New York: Guilford Press; 2017.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  17. Michie S, Richardson M, Johnston M, Abraham C, Francis J, Hardeman W, et al. The behavior change technique taxonomy (v1) of 93 hierarchically clustered techniques: building an international consensus for the reporting of behavior change interventions. Ann Behav Med. 2013;46(1):81–95.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Breitenstein SM, Gross D, Garvey CA, Hill C, Fogg L, Resnick B. Implementation fidelity in community-based interventions. Res Nurs Health. 2010;33(2):164–73.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Dreyfus SE. The five-stage model of adult skill acquisition. Bull Sci Technol Soc. 2004;24(3):177–82.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Frost J, Wingham J, Britten N, Greaves C, Abraham C, Warren FC, et al. Home-based rehabilitation for heart failure with reduced ejection fraction: mixed methods process evaluation of the REACH-HF multicentre randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open. 2019;9(8).

  21. Thompson TP, Lambert JD, Greaves CJ, Taylor AH. Intervention delivery fidelity assessment of a counseling-based intervention for promoting smoking reduction and increasing physical activity. Health Psychol. 2018;37(7):627–37.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Durlak JA, Dupre EP. Implementation matters: a review of research on the influence of implementation on program outcomes and the factors affecting implementation. Am J Community Psychol. 2008;41(3–4):327–50.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Orton E, Lafond N, Skelton DA, Coupland C, Gladman JRF, Iliffe S, et al. Implementation fidelity of the falls management exercise programme: a mixed methods analysis using a conceptual framework for implementation fidelity. Public Health. 2021;197:11–8.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Borek AJ, Abraham C, Greaves CJ, Gillison F, Tarrant M, Morgan-Trimmer S, et al. Identifying change processes in group-based health behaviour-change interventions: development of the mechanisms of action in group-based interventions (MAGI) framework. Health Psychol Rev. 2019;13(3):227–47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Devereux-Fitzgerald A, Powell R, Dewhurst A, French DP. The acceptability of physical activity interventions to older adults: A systematic review and meta-synthesis. Soc Sci Med. 2016;158:14–23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. French DP, Olander EK, Chisholm A, Mc SJ. Which behaviour change techniques are most effective at increasing older adults’ self-efficacy and physical activity behaviour? A systematic review. Ann Behavior Med. 2014;48(2):225–34.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Zubala A, MacGillivray S, Frost H, Kroll T, Skelton DA, Gavine A, et al. Promotion of physical activity interventions for community dwelling older adults: a systematic review of reviews. PloS one. 2017;12(7).

  28. French DP, Banafa R, Williams S, Taylor C, Brown LJE. How Does the understanding, experience, and enactment of self-regulation behaviour change techniques vary with age? A thematic analysis. Appl Psychol Health Well Being. 2021;13(1):239–60.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Sanetti LMH, Collier-Meek MA, Fallon LM. Fidelity with flexibility: treatment acceptability and individualized adaptations of evidence-supported treatments. In: Maltzman S, editor. Oxford library of psychology The Oxford handbook of treatment processes and outcomes in psychology: A multidisciplinary, biopsychosocial approach. Oxford University Press; 2016. p. 289–308.

  30. Deci EL, Ryan RM. The support of autonomy and the control of behavior. New York: Psychology Press; 2000.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Deci EL, Ryan RM. Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. 1st ed. Ryan RM, editor. New York: Plenum Press; 1985.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  32. Ginsburg LR, Hoben M, Easterbrook A, Anderson RA, Estabrooks CA, Norton PG. Fidelity is not easy! Challenges and guidelines for assessing fidelity in complex interventions. Trials. 2021;22(1):372.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. O’Cathain A, Croot L, Sworn K, Duncan E, Rousseau N, Turner K, et al. Taxonomy of approaches to developing interventions to improve health: a systematic methods overview. Pilot Feasib Stud. 2019;5(1):41–27.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Hoddinott P, Pollock A, Cathain A, Boyer I, Taylor J, et al. How to incorporate patient and public perspectives into the design and conduct of research [version 1 peer review: 3 approved, 2 approved with reservations]. F1000Research. 2018;7:752.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Denscombe M. The good research guide : for small-scale social research projects. 6th ed. London: Open University Press; 2013.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Fusch P, Fusch GE, Ness LR. Denzin’s paradigm shift: revisiting triangulation in qualitative research. J Soc Change. 2018;10(1).

  37. Howe KR. Mixed methods, triangulation, and causal explanation. J Mixed Methods Res. 2012;6(2):89–96.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Institute for Health Research, Public Health Research Programme (13/164/51). The corresponding author (RC) was supported in their research by a PhD studentship funded by the University of Bath. We wish to express our thanks to the entire REACT research team, the research participants, the Clinical Research Networks at each REACT site and all the GP practices and community organisations who supported REACT recruitment. Delivery of the REACT programme was only possible due to the support of our partners Bath and North East Somerset Council; Exeter and Solihull City Councils; Westbank Charity; St Monica Trust, Bristol; Bristol Ageing Better; St John’s Hospital, Bath; Age UK Birmingham; Agewell, West Midlands; Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust; the Portway Lifestyle Centre and Solihull Borough Council, Birmingham.

Funding

The REACT study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) – Public Health Research Programme (13/164/51). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. The study was generously supported by the Clinical Research Network at each site. The funder approved the study design but had no role in data collection, data analysis, data interpretation and publications related to the REACT study dataset. The corresponding author was funded by a University of Bath PhD studentship.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

CG, AS and RC designed the intervention fidelity study. RC led the data collection and data analysis. CG, AS, JW and JR made contributions to the analysis and interpretation of the data. RC and CG drafted the manuscript. RC, CG, AS, JR and JW revised the manuscript. AS, CG, and JR obtained funding for the study. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rosina Cross.

Ethics declarations

Ethics approval and consent to participate

We confirm that all methods were carried out in accordance with relevant guidelines and regulations. This manuscript reports results from the REtirement in ACTion (REACT) Study, registered as a randomised controlled trial (ISRCTN, ID:ISRCTN45627165) and approved by the National Health Service (NHS) South East Coast-Surrey Research Ethics Committee (15/LO/2082). Written informed consent was obtained from all participants in the REACT study including written informed consent for the audio-recording of intervention sessions which was the main data collection for this study.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary Information

Additional file 1.

Sample REACT Health Behaviour Maintenance Session Plan.

Additional file 2.

Fidelity Measure Scoring Instructions.

Additional file 3.

Scoring of REACT Intervention BCTs and processes on the 11-item fidelity checklist.

Additional file 4.

Examples of REACT Delivery Practice.

Additional file 5.

Raw data for intervention fidelity scores.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Cross, R., Greaves, C.J., Withall, J. et al. Delivery fidelity of the REACT (REtirement in ACTion) physical activity and behaviour maintenance intervention for community dwelling older people with mobility limitations. BMC Public Health 22, 1112 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-13496-z

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-13496-z

Keywords

  • Process evaluation
  • Behaviour change
  • Physical activity
  • Behavioural intervention
  • Older adults
  • Randomised controlled trial
  • Behaviour change techniques