Does physical activity and sedentary behavior change during the retirement transition? Findings from a series of novel n-of-1 natural experiments

Suzanne McDonald, Rute Vieira, Nicola O'Brien, Martin White, Falko F Sniehotta

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstractpeer-review


Introduction: The retirement transition is associated with significant lifestyle
changes and disruption to prior habits. Therefore, it may represent an
opportunity to change health behaviors in older adults. Previous groupbased
studies show levels of physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior
(SB) change after people retire. However, findings regarding the direction
of change are inconsistent between studies. Changes have been
investigated at the aggregated group level but not at the individual level.
Method: A series of seven N-of-1 natural experiments was conducted
with participants approaching retirement. PA and SB, measured by triaxial
accelerometry, and ecological momentary assessments of sleep,
mood, stress, time pressure and cognitive theory-based determinants of
behavior were collected daily for 3-7 months. The study period included
time before and after participant’s retirement. Dynamic modelling
methods were used to determine the direction of PA/SB change, predictors
of PA/SB, and change in predictors pre- to post-retirement at the
individual level.
Results: PA and SB trajectories differed considerably between participants
(e.g. some showed a significant decrease whilst others showed a
significant increase in PA after retirement). The predictors of daily PA and
SB also differed between participants. For some participants, the predictors
identified in the period before retirement were different from those
identified in the period after.
Conclusions: Post-retirement PA and SB trajectories are heterogeneous.
Therefore, interventions tailored to individuals may be most effective. Nof-1
methods can be used to identify unique predictors of behavior for an
individual, which can inform highly personalized interventions to change
their PA and SB.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0801
Pages (from-to)S261
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventInternational Congress of Behavioral Medicine - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 7 Dec 20167 Dec 2016


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