Wheeling Walks Training Manual

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Introduction:
Wheeling Walks Campaing Message
Engaging the Community

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The Wheeling Walks Campaign Message

Drawing from the best available international research on the promotion of physical activity across an entire community, we knew that it was important to: (1) use extensive mass media, (2) target a physical activity message, (3) focus on a specific high-risk group (sedentary and irregularly exercising adults, 40 to 75 years-of-age), and (4) take a population approach.

Field staff used the Theory of Planned Behavior to determine the exact words and actions to use in the television, radio, and newspaper ads. Toward this end, extensive qualitative and quantitative research was conducted . This process is further explained in the insert below and in Preventive Medicine, September, 2002;353:285-292; and Family & Community Health, Volume 28(1)January/February/March 2005p 64-78.

Developing an Effective Campaign Message

This was both a technical and a creative endeavor. It involved three discrete formative research tasks that guided message development and tested the final message to be used in the campaign. The TV, radio, and print ads were produced by Zimmerman & Markman, Inc., a ad development agency located in Los Angeles.

To guide the message content for Zimmerman & Markman's ad development, the constructs of the Theory of Planned Behavior were utilized23-26 and an elicitation survey (Task I), quantitative survey (Task 2), and qualitative pre-testing of story boards (Task 3) were conducted;

Task 1 - The Elicitation Survey was designed to identify salient psychosocial factors about moderate-intensity walking by two groups of people in the contemplation and preparation stages of change: (1) those who are sedentary or irregularly active ("non-doer"), and (2) those who are currently regularly walking ("doer"). The survey was conducted during October and November of 2000 with 20 volunteer "doers" and 20 volunteer "non-doers" aged 50-65, recruited from the target population. Specifically, participants provided written responses about behavioral, normative, and control beliefs related to walking 30 minutes on almost every day. The responses for each belief were then coded by trained technicians. From these results the Task 2 survey were created. These included all unique behavior belief statements, all unique norm belief statements, and all unique control belief statements.

Task 2 - Quantitative Survey identified which psychosocial factors differentiate "doers" from "non-doers" to aid in message development. A total of 150 volunteer "doers" and 150 volunteer "non-doers " in the target population, approximating the demographic of the intervention community population, were recruited for participation in this task. As an incentive to participate, each person completing the survey received $10. The volunteers first completed a standardized survey measuring behavioral belief, subjective norm, perceived control, intention, and stage of change for regular physical activity. They then provided responses on a Likert Scale to all belief statements generated during the Elicitation Survey (Task 1). Mean scores were computed for each belief statement. Belief statements at one standard deviation above or below the mean (i.e., the most intensely favorable and unfavorable items) were selected.

The selected items were reviewed by our regional public relations consultant and then provided to Zimmerman & Markman with a recommendation that they use the most intense beliefs, namely time and energy, to construct the television ad messages.

Engaging the Community and Ensuring Adequate Help to Conduct the Campaign

A key to the success of the WHEELING WALKS campaign was community involvement. From its inception, interested community members were involved in designing, implementing, and evaluating the campaign. The intervention had a distinct community ownership.

A five-member steering committee helped the principal investigator to identify potential supporters and advisory committee members. More than 50 interested individuals and agency representatives were contacted, with 37 participating in a special 12-week Community Participatory Planning Program (see Chapter 3).

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