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A taxonomy of behaviour change methods: an Intervention Mapping approach

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Abstract

In this paper, we introduce the Intervention Mapping (IM) taxonomy of behaviour change methods and its potential to be developed into a coding taxonomy. That is, although IM and its taxonomy of behaviour change methods are not in fact new, because IM was originally developed as a tool for intervention development, this potential was not immediately apparent. Second, in explaining the IM taxonomy and defining the relevant constructs, we call attention to the existence of parameters for effectiveness of methods, and explicate the related distinction between theory-based methods and practical applications and the probability that poor translation of methods may lead to erroneous conclusions as to method-effectiveness. Third, we recommend a minimal set of intervention characteristics that may be reported when intervention descriptions and evaluations are published. Specifying these characteristics can greatly enhance the quality of our meta-analyses and other literature syntheses. In conclusion, the dynamics of behaviour change are such that any taxonomy of methods of behaviour change needs to acknowledge the importance of, and provide instruments for dealing with, three conditions for effectiveness for behaviour change methods. For a behaviour change method to be effective: (1) it must target a determinant that predicts behaviour; (2) it must be able to change that determinant; (3) it must be translated into a practical application in a way that preserves the parameters for effectiveness and fits with the target population, culture, and context. Thus, taxonomies of methods of behaviour change must distinguish the specific determinants that are targeted, practical, specific applications, and the theory-based methods they embody. In addition, taxonomies should acknowledge that the lists of behaviour change methods will be used by, and should be used by, intervention developers. Ideally, the taxonomy should be readily usable for this goal; but alternatively, it should be clear how the information in the taxonomy can be used in practice. The IM taxonomy satisfies these requirements, and it would be beneficial if other taxonomies would be extended to also meet these needs.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalHealth Psychology Review
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2015