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Digital Health Behavioural Interventions to Support Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Adults after Stroke: A Systematic Literature Review with Meta-Analysis of Controlled Trials.

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Wang, Serena Caitlin Yen 
Kassavou, Aikaterini 


Background: As the global prevalence of stroke continues to rise, it becomes increasingly pressing to investigate digital health behaviour change interventions that promote physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour for stroke patients to support active lifestyles. Purpose: The primary aim of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of digital health interventions in promoting physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour for stroke patients. The secondary aim is to investigate the intervention components that explain intervention effectiveness to further inform intervention development and policy making. Methods: A systematic search of the literature was conducted in four databases (Scopus, MEDLINE (PubMed), Web of Science, and PsychINFO) to identify the most robust evidence in the form of randomised controlled trials of digital interventions for patients with stroke. A random-effects meta-analysis were utilized to quantify the intervention effects on behaviour change, and subgroup analyses to characterise intervention effective components. Results: In total, 16 RCTs were deemed eligible and included in the systematic review. Meta-analyses suggested significant improvements in physical activity (SMD = 0.39, 95% CI 0.17, 0.61, N = 326, p < 0.001, I2 = 0%), and reductions in time of sedentary behaviour (SMD= -0.45, 95% CI -0.76, -0.14, N = 167, p = 0.00, I2 = 0%) after stroke. The 10 m walk test for physical activity, and the timed up and go test for sedentary behaviour, were the objective outcome measures in the most effective behavioural change interventions. Subgroup analyses found that most effective interventions were underpinned by theories of self-regulation and utilised interactive functions to engage patients with the processes of behaviour change. Conclusions: Digital self-monitoring behavioural interventions are effective in promoting physical activity for stroke patients in adjunct to usual care clinical practice and rehabilitation programmes. Rigorous studies are required to provide evidence to disentangle the most effective intervention components for preventative practices and rehabilitation programs and to inform policymaking for stroke treatment.


Peer reviewed: True


Review, digital intervention, stroke, prevention, treatment, systematic review, meta-analysis

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Behav Sci (Basel)

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NIHR Rrogramme Grant for Applied Research (RP-PG-0615-20013)