Characterising intervention content in terms of behaviour change techniques

First published: 09/05/2019 | Last updated: May 20th, 2019

Interventions to change behaviour have had modest and variable success.  Interventions are complex in that they are usually made up of several interacting component behaviour change techniques (BCTs) delivered in a variety of contexts.

If we are to develop more effective interventions, we need to understand variation in intervention effects and mechanisms of action of effective interventions.  Achieving this will require advances in the scientific methods we use to study and change behaviour.  One such advance is a method for characterising the content, that is, the potentially active ingredients within interventions.

This talk will present the BCT Taxonomy v1, a method for specifying interventions in terms of their BCTs using standardised terms and definitions developed by cross-disciplinary and international consensus. This method has been used to identify effective BCTs in meta-analyses, to use a systematic method for designing and evaluating interventions and to accurately implement interventions found to be effective.

This presentation will give examples of studies that have used the BCT methodology to identify effective BCTs in smoking cessation and alcohol reduction interventions and to assess the extent to which interventions have been delivered according to protocol.  It will also illustrate how it has been used to translate evidence into practice by informing a national smoking cessation training programme.


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Professor Susan Michie