Wits Wellness Facilitates Engagement and Self-Efficacy for Practicing Healthy Behaviors

Julie Bobitt, Chelsey Byers, Molly Hofer, Neha P. Gothe, Damien Cavanaugh, Laura Payne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most adults 65 and older have one or more chronic health conditions and 11% are at risk for or have changing cognitive abilities. Also, more adults are socially isolated, increasing their risks for adverse health effects. Classes that build self-efficacy for increasing healthy behaviors and social engagement are important for older adults’ health and well-being. Wits Wellness, a 12-week evidence-informed workshop series, was designed to encourage social interaction, intellectual engagement, and healthy behaviors. Participant-level feasibility and acceptability were examined with a survey (N = 164) and six focus groups (N = 22). Content analysis was conducted on the survey and thematic analysis was utilized for the transcribed focus groups. Participants were satisfied with Wits Wellness and described how the course is intellectually engaging, facilitates social interaction, and encourages practicing healthy behaviors/skills. Focus group findings revealed that combining enjoyable intellectual activities with health information was acceptable and feasible. Participants appreciated the opportunity for social engagement, and Wits Wellness increased their confidence to engage in healthy behaviors. Participants also described continuing to participate in healthy and socially engaging activities after the workshop ended. Course improvement suggestions include having a skilled facilitator to manage online etiquette, offering activities that appeal to diverse skill sets, and offering shorter sessions for younger older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalActivities, Adaptation and Aging
StateE-pub ahead of print - Feb 27 2024


  • healthy lifestyle behaviors
  • intellectual engagement
  • qualitative
  • self-efficacy
  • Socialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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