Promoting stair use by modeling: An experimental application of the behavioral ecological model

Marc A. Adams, Melbourne F. Hovell, Veronica Irvin, James F. Sallis, Karen J. Coleman, Sandy Liles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose. This study evaluated the effect of behavioral modeling and social factors promoting stair use. Design. Alternating baseline and intervention phase experimental design. Setting. San Diego International Airport, San Diego, California. Subjects. Stair use was coded firr 15,574 filmed participants. Intervention. This study compared the effects of three types of behavioral modeling: natural models (i.e., passersby), single experimental model (i.e., confederate), and confederate model pairs providing verbal prompts. Measures. Variables were coded based on systematic observation of videotapes, including demographics, day and time, and, the following indicators of physical and social reinforcement contingencies: dress, luggage, children, social group, and speed. Reliability ranged from .64 to .88. Analysis. Bivariate and logistic regression models stratified by gender. Results. Stair use increased over baseline by 102.6% with no model present and by 61.8% in the presence of natural models for men and women (p < .001). Controlling for multiple covariates, the odds ratios for stair use ranged from 1.76 to 2.93 for men and. from 1.82 to 2.54 for women across the levels with natural and confederate models present (all p < .001). Conclusion. Modeling can prompt stair use, and findings for social and environmental reinforcement contingencies support the Behavioral Ecological Model. Modeling may explain partial maintenance of stair use in public areas after removal of prompts (e.g., signs, banners). Results inform interventions for increasing physical activity as part of daily routines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-109
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Active Living
  • Intervention
  • Intervention testing
  • Obesity
  • Outcome measure: behavioral
  • Physical Activity
  • Prevention Research. Manuscript format: research
  • Research purpose
  • Setting: local community
  • Study design: quasi-experimental
  • Theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Promoting stair use by modeling: An experimental application of the behavioral ecological model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this