Behavior change made accessible
This page collects a number of resources that are useful to anybody interested in developing, or doing research for, effective behavior change. Examples are developing a poster to promote safe sex, developing a program to facilitate the implementation of new software in an organisation, promoting exercise or healthy diets, facilitating smoking cessation, or developing a harm reduction campaign to minimize drug-related harm.
A basic introduction
A useful overview of how behavior change actually works, an excerpt from a Greater Good
training, is available here
. Where that overview is a bit more complete, this figure
summarizes the dynamics of behavior change with a focus on the change processes.
The elements in these overviews, the basics of effective behavior change, are explained in two introductory articles:
A useful overview of methods for behavior change is included in the Intervention Mapping book (a query in google for 'intervention mapping book
' will show you a list of retailers). In 2015, this list was also published in an open access publication in Health Psychology Review:
Kok, G., Gottlieb, N. H., Peters, G.-J. Y., Mullen, P. D., Parcel, G. S., Ruiter, R. A. C., Fernández, M. E., Markham, C., & Bartholomew, L. K. (2015). A Taxonomy of Behavior Change Methods; an Intervention Mapping Approach. Health Psychology Review. DOI: 10.1080/17437199.2015.1077155
The actual tables are included as supplemental materials, and are also available at the Open Science Framework at https://osf.io/sqtuz
. There's now even a version including the article and
the tables with behavior change methods at https://osf.io/ng3xh
A number of mini-lectures about understanding the behavior you want to change are available at:
These mini-lectures focus on step 2 of Intervention Mapping. Intervention Mapping (see Wikipedia
) is a protocol for developing theory-based and evidence-based health-promotion programs. If you mean to get involved with behavior change, it provides an excellent framework that helps you to ask yourself the right questions and find the answers to those questions.
This is an antichronologically ordered list of recorded lectures about behavior change.
This approach compared to the BCT taxonomy
Recently, a debate erupted in the community of behavior change researchers. The debate started when a paper in Health Psychology Review (a journal of the European Health Psychology Society that published reviews, meta-analyses and theoretical papers) pointed out a number of problems with using the BCT taxonomies originally proposed by Abraham and Michie (2008) to determine behavior change method effectiveness through meta-analysis. The original paper where these taxonomies were proposed is available through the Department of Health Promotion and Development at the University of Bergen:
Below are a recorded presentation, a link to the first article of this debate (which is open access), and a link to table of contents of the entire HPR issue, where you can find the comments on that first paper (which unfortunately are not open access).
Peters, G.-J. Y. (2015). IM's Methods of Behavior Change and the Behavior Change Techniques (BCTs). Presentation held at the Intervention Mapping Summer School 2015, Maastricht, the Netherlands.
Peters, G.-J. Y., de Bruin, M. & Crutzen, R. (2015). Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler: towards a protocol for accumulating evidence regarding the active content of health behaviour change interventions. Health Psychology Review, 9(1), 1-14.
Field, Johnson, Michie, Johnston, Armitage, Knittle, de Bruin, Crutzen & Peters (2015). Various comments to this article and the authors' response to these comments Health Psychology Review, 9(1), 14-41. (Note that none of these are open access, unfortunately.)
A related discussion on integrating theories of behavior change followed, in issue 3 of volume 10 of HPR
. Although the discussion is not open access, one paper that approaches that issue form a behavior change dynamics perspective is self-archived here:
Influencing environments and organisations
There's a very useful paper about stakeholder theory that is self-archived on Researchgate:
Broadening your view
The two Practical Guides to Effective Behavior Change linked to above are part of a special issue, which also contains a number of more in-depth articles, which you might want to get into if you are already familiar with behavior change, or if you are more interested in doing research:
The complete table of contents
Silva, M. N., Marques, M. M., Teixeira, P. J. (2014). Testing theory in practice: The example of self-determination theory-based interventions . European Health Psychologist, 16(5), 171-180.
Johnston, M. (2014). Improving the reporting of behaviour change interventions. European Health Psychologist, 16(5), 181-189.
Knittle, K. (2014). Fidelity in intervention delivery: A rough field guide. European Health Psychologist, 16(5), 190-195.
Naughton, F. & Johnston, D. (2014). A starter kit for undertaking n-of-1 trials . European Health Psychologist, 16(5), 196-205.
Hagger, M. S. & Luszczynska, A. (2014). Planning interventions for behaviour change: A protocol for establishing best practice through consensus. European Health Psychologist, 16(5), 206-213.
is available as well.
If you have any questions, or better yet, freely accessible resources to link to, you can contact me through https://behaviorchange.eu