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A randomized controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness of a web-based, computer-tailored self-management intervention for people with or at risk for COPD

Authors Voncken-Brewster V, Tange H, de Vries H, Nagykaldi Z, Winkens B, van der Weijden T

Received 21 January 2015

Accepted for publication 6 March 2015

Published 8 June 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 1061—1073


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Viola Voncken-Brewster,1 Huibert Tange,1 Hein de Vries,2 Zsolt Nagykaldi,3 Bjorn Winkens,4 Trudy van der Weijden1

1Department of Family Medicine, 2Department of Health Promotion, School for Public Health and Primary Care (CAPHRI), Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, Netherlands; 3Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA; 4Department of Methodology and Statistics, CAPHRI, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, Netherlands

Introduction: COPD is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Self-management interventions are considered important in order to limit the progression of the disease. Computer-tailored interventions could be an effective tool to facilitate self-management.
Methods: This randomized controlled trial tested the effectiveness of a web-based, computer-tailored COPD self-management intervention on physical activity and smoking behavior. Participants were recruited from an online panel and through primary care practices. Those at risk for or diagnosed with COPD, between 40 and 70 years of age, proficient in Dutch, with access to the Internet, and with basic computer skills (n=1,325), were randomly assigned to either the intervention group (n=662) or control group (n=663). The intervention group received the web-based self-management application, while the control group received no intervention. Participants were not blinded to group assignment. After 6 months, the effect of the intervention was assessed for the primary outcomes, smoking cessation and physical activity, by self-reported 7-day point prevalence abstinence and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire – Short Form.
Results: Of the 1,325 participants, 1,071 (80.8%) completed the 6-month follow-up questionnaire. No significant treatment effect was found on either outcome. The application however, was used by only 36% of the participants in the experimental group.
Conclusion: A possible explanation for the nonsignificant effect on the primary outcomes, smoking cessation and physical activity, could be the low exposure to the application as engagement with the program has been shown to be crucial for the effectiveness of computer-tailored interventions. (Netherlands Trial Registry number: NTR3421.)

Keywords: smoking cessation, physical activity, Internet intervention, tailoring, COPD

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