Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Jennifer Plumb Vilardaga, PhD, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common age-related problems facing older adults (age 65 and older), often leading to reductions in recommended physical activity. Physical activity has been shown to prevent disability across large samples of older adults and is safe for even vulnerable older adults.Yet, there are often significant barriers to regular physical activity for older adults with OA, including persistent pain and numerous psychosocial factors. The purpose of this study is to evaluate how older adults might benefit from sessions that teach behavioral coping skills for increasing physical activity and reducing pain interference as compared to treatment per usual. The proposed study is a small randomized pilot feasibility trial (N=50) with an intervention group receiving a brief Engage protocol that focuses on physical activity (Engage-PA; n=25) as compared to treatment as usual plus personal fitness-tracker control (TAU+; n=25) for older adults with OA-pain. The intervention group will receive two 45 minute sessions over the course of three weeks, receiving a novel combination of behavioral skills for increasing motivation to engage in physical activity, physical activity monitoring, and strategic activity pacing to increase physical activity without causing severe pain. Physical activity will be measured by accelerometer (i.e., ActiGraph; a gold-standard research-grade wearable device without a patient interface) for all participants throughout the study. Intervention responses will be compared within and between groups using statistical methods appropriate for longitudinal momentary assessment data (e.g., R programming based hierarchical linear modeling techniques). The risks in the study study are minimal, and consist of psychological discomfort with answering questions, some physical discomfort associated with engaging in walking or other recommended physical activity (at levels recommended by the World Health Association and treating primary care providers), and some loss of confidentiality as is common in psychosocial intervention studies.