The structured health intervention for truckers (SHIFT) cluster randomised controlled trial: a mixed methods process evaluation
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2022, 19 (1), . 10.1186/s12966-022-01316-x
Background This paper presents the mixed methods process evaluation of the randomised controlled trial (RCT) of the Structured Health Intervention For Truckers (SHIFT), a multi-component intervention targeting physical activity and positive lifestyle behaviours in a cohort of 382 truck drivers in the UK. The SHIFT RCT found a significant difference in daily steps between intervention and control groups at 6-months in favour of the intervention participants. Methods SHIFT was evaluated within a cluster-RCT and involved 25 transport sites (12 intervention and 13 control sites). Intervention components included an education session, Fitbit, text messages, and cab workout equipment. Participants completed questionnaires at baseline and 6-months follow-up. Semi-structured focus groups/interviews were conducted with drivers (n = 19) and managers (n = 18) from each site, after completion of the final follow-up health assessment (16-18 months post-randomisation). Questionnaires and interviews collected information on fidelity, dose, context, implementation, barriers, sustainability, and contamination. Results Questionnaire and interview data from intervention participants indicated favourable attitudes towards SHIFT, specifically towards the Fitbit with a high proportion of drivers reporting regularly using it (89.1%). 79.2% of intervention participants attended the education session, which was deemed useful for facilitating improvements in knowledge and behaviour change, dietary changes were predominantly recalled. Despite not being part of the intervention, participants reported that feedback from the health assessments motivated them to change aspects of their lifestyle (intervention = 91.1%, control = 67.5%). The cab workout equipment was used less and spoken unfavourably of in the interviews. The main barriers to a healthy lifestyle at work were reported as long hours and irregular shift patterns. The most suggested improvement for the intervention was more frequent contact with drivers. Managers were positive about the objectives of SHIFT, however almost all mentioned the challenges related to implementation, specifically in smaller sites. Conclusions Overall, SHIFT was predominantly implemented as intended, with minimal discrepancies seen between the delivery and protocol. Having said this, transport sites each have distinct characteristics, which may require adaptations to individual settings to encourage participation. Managers and drivers reported enthusiasm and necessity for SHIFT to be included in future Certificate of Professional Competence training.