A health education intervention as the control condition in the CTN-0037 STRIDE multi-site exercise trial: Rationale and description

Chad D. Rethorst, Tracy L. Greer, Bruce Grannemann, Kolette M. Ring, Bess H. Marcus, Madhukar H. Trivedi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


The selection of a control condition in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) is critical in determining the effect of the experimental treatment. While the use of a placebo pill can be an ideal control in pharmaceutical trials, RCTs of behavioral interventions present unique challenges in the selection and implementation of the appropriate control condition. Investigators must not only consider the control condition's ability to protect against threats to internal validity and its plausibility as a possible intervention, but must also carefully implement the control condition so it does not introduce bias from either the investigators or the participants. The purpose of this paper is to provide the rationale for the use of a health education intervention (HEI) as the control condition in the CTN-0037 Stimulant Reduction Intervention Using Dosed Exercise (STRIDE) trial. In this paper, we will describe the careful design of the HEI to ensure proper implementation and discuss alternative control conditions considered. Clinical trials registry: clinicalTrials.gov, NCT01141608, http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01141608.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-41
Number of pages5
JournalMental Health and Physical Activity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2014



  • Control condition
  • Design
  • Exercise
  • Health education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this