Planning theory- and evidence-based behavior change interventions: a conceptual review of the intervention mapping protocol

Gerjo Kok*, Louk W. H. Peters, Robert A. C. Ruiter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Web of Science)


This paper discusses the Intervention Mapping (IM) protocol for planning theory- and evidence-based behavior change interventions. IM has been developed in the field of health promotion in 1998 and has mostly been applied in that field, but applications in other fields are emerging. IM can be used for any intervention that involves changing behavior. The paper discusses the protocol and its basic issues and presents in-depth examples of its use in-and outside the health promotion field: Empowerment, return to work, safety interventions, implementation, energy conservation, and academic performance. IM is characterized by three perspectives: a social ecological approach, participation of all stakeholders, and the use of theories and evidence. Through a series of six iterative steps - from needs assessment to implementation and evaluation - which are each broken down into specific tasks, correct application of the protocol is meant to produce behavior change interventions that fit into the local context and that have the best chances of effectiveness. IM helps intervention planners develop the best possible interventions targeting health behaviors, but also targeting behaviors related to other societal issues, such as environmental concerns, safety and discrimination.
Original languageEnglish
Article number19
JournalPsicologia: Reflexão e Crítica
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2017


  • Intervention Mapping
  • Behavior change
  • Health promotion
  • Intervention
  • Theory
  • Participation
  • Ecological

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