The Feasibility and Acceptability of the Developing Real Incentives and Volition for Exercise (DRIVE) Program: A Pilot Study for Promoting Physical Activity in African American Women

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Background. The purpose of the current article is to demonstrate how formative process evaluation was used in a pilot study to optimize the design and implementation of two motivationally targeted community-based physical activity (PA) interventions for inactive African American women. Method. Fifteen African American women (M age: 41.6 years) were randomized to a challenge-focused program targeted toward high autonomous motivation or a rewards-focused program targeted toward low autonomous motivation. The challenge-focused program targeted enjoyment and valuation of PA and a team-based positive social climate through competitive intergroup activities and team-based goals, whereas the rewards-focused program targeted PA interest, competency, and partner-based social support through a walking program, individual-based goals with financial incentives, and partner-based action-plans. Results. Feedback from participants revealed high levels of acceptability of essential elements. Average weekly attendance exceeded the a priori goal of ≥75% of members in attendance each week. External systematic observation demonstrated that session content dose was ≥93% in both programs. Facilitator-level fidelity exceeded the a priori goal of averaging ≥3 on a 4-point scale for behavioral skills, communication, autonomy support, and session content. The process evaluation also revealed areas for improvement, including facilitator-level social support and behavioral skills at the group-level. Process data collected through FitBits revealed that participants were engaged in self-monitoring PA during the 6-week programs. Conclusions. The formative process evaluation demonstrated adequate levels of feasibility and acceptability and also provided key insights into adjustments needed before proceeding with implementing the motivationally targeted group-based programs in a larger randomized study.