Thursday, February 15, 2024

University of Iowa Associate Professor Michelle Voss, director of the Health, Brain, & Cognition Lab,has received a grant to study how self-regulation relates to adherence to daily physical activity in middle-aged and older people. Titled "BOOST JumpstartPA," the study will consist of two phases over five years and target 40- to 65-year-olds.

Michelle Voss photo

The first phase of the research will use tests to measure how well people can use cognitive skills involved in self-regulation to behave according to their goals when the situation is either emotionally neutral or emotionally charged. Using broad testing throughout the community, the goal is to see how self-regulation and other forms of cognition, such as memory, are related to daily physical activity and overcoming barriers to that activity.

The second phase was awarded to extend the first phase into intervention. In this phase, the UI Health, Brain, & Cognition Lab will partner with investigators at Northeastern University to test whether computerized training can improve adherence to a physical activity program.

“There’s growing evidence behind the association between self-regulation and health behavior change,” Dr. Voss says. “With this award, for the first time, we can go beyond associations and test whether improving cognitive self-regulation with an intervention would boost behavior change towards a more physically active lifestyle.”

The grant, funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging, exceeds $3.3 million.