Comparing the Effectiveness of Two Theory-Based Strategies to Promote Cognitive Training Adherence

Erin R. Harrell, Nelson A. Roque, Walter R. Boot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study compared the effectiveness of two theory-based strategies to promote cognitive training adherence among older adults (Mage = 70 years, SD = 4.42, range = 64-84). Strategies incorporated either (a) elements of implementation intention formation or (b) positive message framing, both of which have been found to promote adherence to health behaviors in other domains. Participants (N = 120) were asked to engage in technology-based cognitive training at home comprised of seven gamified neuropsychological tasks. In Phase 1 (structured), participants were provided a schedule that required engagement in 1 hr of cognitive training 5 days each week over 2 months. In Phase 2 (unstructured), participants were instructed to engage with the intervention as much as they desired for 1 month. Contrary to expectations, neither the implementation intention nor positive message framing produced greater adherence relative to control as measured by the total number of training sessions completed in each phase. However, exploratory analysis indicated a greater likelihood of intervention engagement for participants assigned to the implementation intention condition on many days of the intervention, though the trajectory of engagement decline was similar for all three groups. Measures of cognition, attitudes/personality, and technology proficiency also did not predict adherence over either phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)782-792
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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