Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Health and Human Performance (Community Health Option)

Department or School/College

College of Education and Human Sciences

Committee Chair

Dr. Annie Sondag

Commitee Members

Drs. Gene Burns, Craig Ravesloot, Rayna Sage


disability, meaning, hope, health coaching, health promotion, health-promoting behavior


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Public Health Education and Promotion


Introduction:In an effort to expand the reach of health-promotion efforts for people with disabilities, a one-on-one health promotion intervention titled Health My Way was piloted. This intervention incorporated health coaching and health-promotion curriculum designed specifically for people with disabilities.

Purpose:The intervention was evaluated for its effects on health behavior change. Additionally, personal sense of meaning and hope were examined as potential mechanisms of influence in the hypothesized behavior change process.

Methodology:A convergent-parallel mixed-methods research design was used to examine the research questions. Pre- and post-intervention surveys were used to evaluate changes in levels of meaning, hope, and health behavior. Qualitative interviews were conducted with a subset of research participants to better understand the interactions among these variables.

Results: Survey responses were available for 39 participants, 12 of whom were interviewed. A main effect of the overall intervention was seen on physical activity. Additional effects on health responsibility, nutrition, and spiritual growth were seen for participants who engaged in relevant curriculum content. No mediational effects were found; however, correlations between pre- and post-test hope scores were low relative to the reliability of the measure, and a portion of the variance seen in physical activity change was associated with changes in hope. Qualitative analysis revealed both meaning and hope were important to health behavior change. The identification of sources of personal meaning was important to the identification of personally meaningful goals and for the initial motivation for health behavior change. Hope was an important component of sustained health behavior change. Increases in hope were seen in some participants, however most participants who achieved their goals or sustained health behavior change experienced an increased only the agency component of hope.

Conclusions: Individualized health coaching in the current study was found to be an effective method for improving health behavior in people with disabilities, with the strongest effects in the domain of physical activity. Within this process, personal sense of meaning and hope both

functioned as active components. The identification of personally meaningful goals and the generation and maintenance of hope appear to be vital to successful health behavior change via health coaching.



© Copyright 2019 Krys Standley