Enhancing physical function in HIV-infected older adults: A randomized controlled clinical trial

Krupa N. Shah, Zahraa Majeed, Yilmaz B. Yoruk, Hongmei Yang, Tiffany N. Hilton, James M. McMahon, William J. Hall, Donna Walck, Amneris E. Luque, Richard M. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objective: HIV-infected older adults (HOA) are at risk of functional decline. Interventions promotingphysical activity that can attenuate functional decline and are easily translated into the HOA communityare of high priority. We conducted a randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate whether a physicalactivity counseling intervention based on self-determination theory (SDT) improves physical function,autonomous motivation, depression and the quality of life (QOL) in HOA. Method: In total, 67community-dwelling HOA with mild-to-moderate functional limitations were randomized to 1 of 2groups: a physical activity counseling group or the usual care control group. We used SDT to guide thedevelopment of the experimental intervention. Outcome measures that were collected at baseline andfinal study visits included a battery of physical function tests, levels of physical activity, autonomousmotivation, depression, and QOL. Results: The study participants were similar in their demographic andclinical characteristics in both the treatment and control groups. Overall physical performance, gait speed,measures of endurance and strength, and levels of physical activity improved in the treatment groupcompared to the control group (p < .05). Measures of autonomous regulation such as identifiedregulation, and measures of depression and QOL improved significantly in the treatment group comparedwith the control group (p < .05). Across the groups, improvement in intrinsic regulation and QOLcorrelated with an improvement in physical function (p < .05). Conclusion: Our findings suggest thata physical activity counseling program grounded in SDT can improve physical function, autonomousmotivation, depression, and QOL in HOA with functional limitations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-573
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Psychological Association.


  • Aging
  • Frailty
  • HIV
  • Physical activity
  • Physical function


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