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Online Tailored Interventions & Relational Agents for Exercise and Sun Protection

18 Years
75 Years
Open (Enrolling)
Sedentary, Skin Cancer

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Trial Information

Online Tailored Interventions & Relational Agents for Exercise and Sun Protection

The overarching goal of this research project is to revise and enhance a multimedia
computer-based multiple risk factor intervention for cancer prevention, using the internet
to reach a general population. Two innovative, individualized, easily disseminated,
low-cost, and interactive interventions, both for multiple behaviors (sun protection and
exercise adoption), will be developed and evaluated in comparison to a control condition.
The first intervention involves adapting our effective multimedia expert system
interventions to the internet environment. The second intervention builds on the first with
the additional inclusion of a Relational Agent, a recently developed computer-based approach
to establishing a personal relationship typically missing on internet sites. Both systems
will employ the same theoretical model of behavior change, the Transtheoretical Model, as
the deep knowledge, and all systems will employ empirically based decision rules. The design
is a 3 Group (Control, Internet, Internet plus Relational Agent) x 3 Occasions (0, 12, 24 •
Months) with intervention occurring during the first 12 months. A representative national
sample of 1639 individuals at risk for both behaviors will be recruited. The primary aims
are: (1) To develop and assess the effectiveness of a tailored internet intervention on a
national sample; (2) To develop and assess the effectiveness of the internet intervention
enhanced by a relational agent; and (3) To determine if the intervention with the relational
agent can outperform the regular tailored internet intervention. The secondary aims are: (1)
To determine if the two interventions are differentially effective with each behavior and
with different subgroups, and (2) To determine if the relational agent intervention is
utilized more often for increasing exercise than for sun protection. This study targets two
major risk factors for cancer; is designed to treat the behaviors on a population basis,
using proactive recruitment strategies; intervenes on multiple behaviors simultaneously,
thereby producing greater impacts for cancer prevention; utilizes one of the most promising
approaches to low cost population based interventions for health-related behavior change,
namely the internet; and develops and tests a promising new approach to increasing the
utilization and effectiveness of internet-based interventions, relational agents.

Inclusion Criteria:

- English speaking

- access to computer

- willing to download materials

Exclusion Criteria:

- heart attack in past 6 months

- kidney failure during dialysis

- currently receiving chemotherapy or radiation for cancer

- had a seizure in the past 6 months

- had a leg or pelvic fracture in the past 6 months

- legally blind

- regularly use a wheelchair

- (women only) currently pregnant or plan to be pregnant in the next 6 months

Type of Study:


Study Design:

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Investigator), Primary Purpose: Prevention

Outcome Measure:


Outcome Description:

Regular Exercise is defined as any planned physical activity (e.g., brisk walking, aerobics, jogging, bicycling, swimming, rowing, basketball, etc.) performed to increase physical fitness. Such activity should be performed 5 times or more per week for 30 minutes per session, consistent with CDC guidelines.

Outcome Time Frame:

Percentage of baseline at-risk participants who reach the Regular Exercise criteria at 24 months.

Safety Issue:


Principal Investigator

Wayne F Velicer, PhD

Investigator Role:

Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation:

Univeristy of Rhode Island


United States: Institutional Review Board

Study ID:




Start Date:

April 2009

Completion Date:

September 2014

Related Keywords:

  • Sedentary
  • Skin Cancer
  • Skin Neoplasms



University of Rhode Island Kingston, Rhode Island  02881