Keeping Active with Texting after Stroke (KATS): development of a text message intervention to promote physical activity and exercise after stroke



Irvine L, Morris JH, Dombrowski SU, Breckenridge JP, Farre A, Ozakinci G, Lebedis T & Jones C (2023) Keeping Active with Texting after Stroke (KATS): development of a text message intervention to promote physical activity and exercise after stroke. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 9, Art. No.: 105.

Background Post-stroke physical activity reduces disability and risk of further stroke. When stroke rehabilitation ends, some people feel abandoned by services and struggle to undertake physical activities that support recovery and health. The aim of this study was to codesign a novel text message intervention to promote physical activity among people with stroke and provide support when formal rehabilitation ends. This manuscript describes the intervention development processes that will inform future pilot and feasibility studies. Methods The planned intervention was a series of text messages to be sent in a predetermined sequence to people with stroke at the end of rehabilitation. The intervention, underpinned by behaviour change theory and using salient behaviour change techniques, would provide daily messages offering encouragement and support for the uptake and maintenance of physical activity following stroke. The intervention was codesigned by a Collaborative Working Group, comprised of people with stroke, rehabilitation therapists, representatives from stroke charities and academics. A four-step framework was used to design the intervention: formative research on physical activity post-stroke, creation of the behaviour change text message intervention, pre-testing and refinement. Formative research included a review of the scientific evidence and interviews with community-dwelling people with stroke. Data generated were used by the Collaborative Working Group to identify topics to be addressed in the intervention. These were mapped to constructs of the Health Action Process Approach, and salient behaviour change techniques to deliver the intervention were identified. The intervention was rendered into a series of text messages to be delivered over 12 weeks. The draft intervention was revised and refined through an iterative process including review by people with stroke, their spouses, rehabilitation therapists and experts in the field of stroke. The messages encourage regular physical activity but do not prescribe exercise or provide reminders to exercise at specific times. They use conversational language to encourage engagement, and some are personalised for participants. Quotes from people with stroke provide encouragement and support and model key behaviour change techniques such as goal setting and coping planning. Discussion Co-design processes were critical in systematically developing this theory and evidence-based intervention. People with stroke and rehabilitation therapists provided insights into perceived barriers post-rehabilitation

Co-design; Intervention development; Behaviour change; Text message intervention; Stroke; Rehabilitation:

FundersChief Scientist Office
Publication date23/06/2023
Publication date online23/06/2023
Date accepted by journal26/05/2023

People (2)


Dr Stephan Dombrowski

Dr Stephan Dombrowski

Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Psychology

Professor Gozde Ozakinci

Professor Gozde Ozakinci

Professor and Deputy Dean of Faculty, Psychology