Objectives: Examining mediators of intervention efficacy in an m-health intervention targeting physical activity and sleep in 160 Australian adults.
Design: Nationwide randomised controlled trial.
Main outcome measures: Moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA), assessed using the Active Australia Questionnaire; sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index); and sleep hygiene practices (Sleep Hygiene Index). Hypothesised psychosocial (e.g. self-efficacy) and behavioural (i.e. MVPA, sleep quality, sleep hygiene) mediators were tested on primary endpoint data at 3 months using bias-corrected bootstrapping (PROCESS 2 for SPSS). All outcomes and mediators were assessed using self-report.
Results: At three months, the intervention had significantly improved sleep quality (d = 0.48, 95% CI: −2.26, −0.33, p = 0.009) and sleep hygiene (d = 0.40, 95% CI: −3.10, −0.19, p = 0.027). Differences in MVPA were not significant (d = 0.24, 95% CI: −35.53, 254.67, p = 0.139). Changes in MVPA were mediated by self-efficacy, perceived capability, environment, social support, intentions and planning, some of which showed inconsistent mediation (suppression). None of the hypothesised psychosocial factors mediated sleep outcomes. Changes in sleep hygiene mediated changes in sleep quality.
Conclusions: Several psychosocial factors mediated changes in physical activity but not in sleep outcomes. Mediation effects of sleep hygiene on sleep quality highlight the importance of providing evidence-based strategies to improve sleep quality.