Table 1

 Baseline demographic and health characteristics

CharacteristicIntervention n = 313Control n = 316
Values are represented as n (%) unless otherwise specified.
*Post-hoc classification. The classification used in minimisation was: musculoskeletal, diabetes, heart disease, other.
†Definition taken from Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs classification of Primary Care Trusts in England (September 2005).
‡Based on informant ratings of each calendar month, collected at baseline.
Age (SD)55.5 (13.6)55.3 (13.6)
Gender: Female219 (70.0%)220 (69.6%)
Ethnicity: White298 (95.2%)299 (94.6%)
Marital status:
    Lives alone82 (26.2%)93 (29.4%)
    Lives with spouse/partner188 (60.1%)190 (60.1%)
Educational qualifications:
    None77 (24.6%)61 (19.3%)
    Degree51 (16.3%)53 (16.8%)
Accommodation: Owner-occupied214 (68.4%)214 (67.7%)
Work situation:
    In paid work58 (18.5%)66 (20.9%)
    Unable to work due to condition111 (35.5%)106 (33.5%)
    Retired110 (35.1%)111 (35.1%)
Self-reported main long-term health condition*
    Musculoskeletal106 (33.9%)107 (33.9%)
    Endocrine37 (11.8%)37 (11.7%)
    Circulatory20 (6.4%)24 (7.6%)
    Myalgic encephalitis /chronic fatigue22 (7.0%)25 (7.9%)
    Respiratory23 (7.4%)17 (5.4%)
    Mental health19 (6.1%)19 (6.0%)
    Neurological20 (6.4%)18 (5.7%)
    Other66 (21.1%)69 (21.8%)
Self-reported general health
    Very good/excellent32 (10.2%)34 (10.8%)
    Good90 (28.8%)92 (29.1%)
    Fair122 (39.0%)111 (35.1%)
    Poor69 (22.0%)79 (25.0%)
Self-reported baseline health characteristics
    Self-efficacy (SD)45.9 (21.5)47.7 (22.3)
    Energy (SD)32.6 (19.5)33.3 (20.1)
    Service utilisation (SD)8.6 (7.3)9.1 (8.1)
Classification of primary care trust locality†
    Predominantly rural94 (30.0%)93 (29.4%)
    Some rural and mixed114 (36.4%)118 (37.3%)
    Major and large urban105 (33.6%)105 (33.2%)
Seasonal change between recruitment and follow-up‡
    Follow-up at a “worse” month in cycle than recruitment21 (6.7%)18 (5.7%)
    Follow-up at a “better” month in cycle than recruitment31 (9.9%)45 (14.2%)
    No difference28 (9.0%)24 (7.6%)
    No seasonal pattern233 (74.4%)229 (72.5%)
Time between recruitment and follow-up: (mean days, SD)219 (40.6)209 (37.1)