Protocol for a feasibility cluster randomised controlled trial of a peer-led school-based intervention to increase the physical activity of adolescent girls (PLAN-A).

Pilot Feasibility Stud 2016 15;2. Epub 2016 Jan 15.

grid.5337.20000000419367603School of Social & Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

Background: Physical activity levels are low amongst adolescent girls, and this population faces specific barriers to being active. Peer influences on health behaviours are important in adolescence and peer-led interventions might hold promise to change behaviour. This paper describes the protocol for a feasibility cluster randomised controlled trial of Peer-Led physical Activity iNtervention for Adolescent girls (PLAN-A), a peer-led intervention aimed at increasing adolescent girls' physical activity levels.

Methods/design: A two-arm cluster randomised feasibility trial will be conducted in six secondary schools (intervention  = 4; control  = 2) with year 8 (12-13 years old) girls. The intervention will operate at a year group level and consist of year 8 girls nominating influential peers within their year group to become peer-supporters. Approximately 15 % of the cohort will receive 3 days of training about physical activity and interpersonal communication skills. Peer-supporters will then informally diffuse messages about physical activity amongst their friends for 10 weeks. Data will be collected at baseline (time 0 (T0)), immediately after the intervention (time 1 (T1)) and 12 months after baseline measures (time 2 (T2)). In this feasibility trial, the primary interest is in the recruitment of schools and participants (both year 8 girls and peer-supporters), delivery and receipt of the intervention, data provision rates and identifying the cost categories for future economic analysis. Physical activity will be assessed using 7-day accelerometry, with the likely primary outcome in a fully-powered trial being daily minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Participants will also complete psychosocial questionnaires at each time point: assessing motivation, self-esteem and peer physical activity norms. Data analysis will be largely descriptive and focus on recruitment, attendance and data provision rates. The findings will inform the sample size required for a definitive trial. A detailed process evaluation using qualitative and quantitative methods will be conducted with a variety of stakeholders (i.e. pupils, parents, teachers and peer-supporter trainers) to identify areas of success and necessary improvements prior to proceeding to a definitive trial.

Discussion: This paper describes the protocol for the PLAN-A feasibility cluster randomised controlled trial which will provide the information necessary to design a fully-powered trial should PLAN-A demonstrate evidence of promise.

Trial Registration: ISRCTN12543546.

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January 2016
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