From Theory-Inspired to Theory-Based Interventions: A Protocol for Developing and Testing a Methodology for Linking Behaviour Change Techniques to Theoretical Mechanisms of Action
SourceAnnals of Behavioral Medicine, 52, 6, (2018), pp. 501-512
Article / Letter to editor
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Annals of Behavioral Medicine
SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
Background: Understanding links between behaviour change techniques (BCTs) and mechanisms of action (the processes through which they affect behaviour) helps inform the systematic development of behaviour change interventions. Purpose: This research aims to develop and test a methodology for linking BCTs to their mechanisms of action. Methods: Study 1 (published explicit links): Hypothesised links between 93 BCTs (from the 93-item BCT taxonomy, BCTTv1) and mechanisms of action will be identified from published interventions and their frequency, explicitness and precision documented. Study 2 (expert-agreed explicit links): Behaviour change experts will identify links between 61 BCTs and 26 mechanisms of action in a formal consensus study. Study 3 (integrated matrix of explicit links): Agreement between studies 1 and 2 will be evaluated and a new group of experts will discuss discrepancies. An integrated matrix of BCT-mechanism of action links, annotated to indicate strength of evidence, will be generated. Study 4 (published implicit links): To determine whether groups of co-occurring BCTs can be linked to theories, we will identify groups of BCTs that are used together from the study 1 literature. A consensus exercise will be used to rate strength of links between groups of BCT and theories. Conclusions: A formal methodology for linking BCTs to their hypothesised mechanisms of action can contribute to the development and evaluation of behaviour change interventions. This research is a step towards developing a behaviour change 'ontology', specifying relations between BCTs, mechanisms of action, modes of delivery, populations, settings and types of behaviour.
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