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Currently submitted to: JMIR Research Protocols

Date Submitted: Jun 28, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: Jul 2, 2019 - Jul 16, 2019
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Examining the effectiveness of an integrated physical activity and psychosocial program targeting ‘at-risk’ adolescent girls: The GUM intervention study protocol and baseline characteristics.

  • Cristina Caperchione; 
  • Nicole Hargreaves; 
  • Catherine M. Sabiston; 
  • Stephen Berg; 
  • Kent C. Kowalski; 
  • Leah J. Ferguson; 


Adolescents are highly susceptible to poor rates of self-perceptions, likely thought of as due to their social cues and environment. As a result, the presence of these adverse self-perceptions has been shown to negatively impact levels of physical activity (PA). Albeit PA has the ability to foster improved emotions involved with these self-perceptions, rates of PA among adolescents are on a continuous descent, with girls appearing to be most susceptible to these declines. Of particular interest, ‘at-risk’ adolescent girls whom may experience a number of negative preceding lifestyle conditions may be exceptionally vulnerable to declines in PA participation. Specifically, there are a high number of adolescent girls from low-income and abusive households in British Columbia, Canada, thus indicating a need for a program to relay the importance of PA and healthy lifestyle behaviours. This paper aims to describe the protocol of the Girls United and on the Move (GUM) intervention, an integrated PA and psychosocial program aimed at improving self-compassion, social-connectedness and overall self-perceptions among ‘at-risk’ adolescent girls. Utilizing a quasi-experimental mixed-methods approach, the GUM intervention was conducted in five schools within British Columbia, Canada. Adolescent girls identified as ‘at-risk’ between the ages of 11-15 years were included in the study. The 9-week integrated intervention, delivered by both a trained researcher with a background in health and exercise research and a registered social worker, involved a conjunctive PA component and a psychosocial component complete with evidence-based topics addressing the concerns of the adolescent girls. The following outcomes were evaluated: PA, self-compassion, social support, leader supportiveness, sport enjoyment and commitment. Program acceptability and satisfaction was also examined. Outcome measures were assessed at baseline (week 1), week 6, and post-intervention (week 9), in addition to collecting interview data on a sub-sample of participants concerning program acceptability and satisfaction shortly after post-intervention. It was hypothesized that the GUM intervention will enhance PA, whilst also improving self-compassion, social-connectedness, and overall self-perceptions among ‘at-risk’ adolescent girls. The findings of this research will contribute to the literature concerning PA and various psychosocial factors impacting the physical and mental health of ‘at-risk’ adolescent girls.


Please cite as:

Caperchione C, Hargreaves N, Sabiston CM, Berg S, Kowalski KC, Ferguson LJ

Examining the effectiveness of an integrated physical activity and psychosocial program targeting ‘at-risk’ adolescent girls: The GUM intervention study protocol and baseline characteristics.

JMIR Preprints. 28/06/2019:15302

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.15302


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