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Contingency Management to Induce Exercise Among College Students

  • Jessica G. Irons (a1), Derek A. Pope (a2), Allyson E. Pierce (a3), Ryan A. Van Patten (a1) and Brantley P. Jarvis (a4)...

Abstract

Objective: The effects of contingency management to induce physical activity levels were examined in seven non-obese physically inactive undergraduate students by providing monetary payments using a multiple baseline, changing-criterion procedure. Methods: Participants attended a baseline phase, a subsequent intervention phase consisting of three exercise sessions per week for 4 weeks, and a follow-up session 2 weeks post intervention. A total of $145 was available for attendance and exercise contingency payments. Results: Results indicate that all participants significantly increased exercise during intervention from inactivity at baseline to exercising three 30-minute sessions per week. Participants maintained some gains during follow-up. Limitations: The study employed a small and homogenous sample size and required participants to exercise in a lab setting thus limiting external validity. Conclusions: These findings suggest that incentive-based interventions are an effective and viable means for inducing exercise.

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Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Jessica G. Irons, MSC 7704 Department of Psychology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA. Email: ironsjg@jmu.edu

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