Developing habit-based health behaviour change interventions: twenty-one questions to guide future research

GARDNER, Benjamin, ARDEN, Madelynne, BROWN, Daniel, EVES, Frank F., GREEN, James, HAMILTON, Kyra, HANKONEN, Nelli, INAUEN, Jennifer, KELLER, Jan, KWASNICKA, Dominika, LABUDEK, Sarah, MARIEN, Hans, MASARYK, Radomír, MCCLEARY, Nicola, MULLAN, Barbara A., NETER, Efrat, ORBELL, Sheina, POTTHOFF, Sebastian and LALLY, Phillippa (2021). Developing habit-based health behaviour change interventions: twenty-one questions to guide future research. Psychology & Health.

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Objective Habitual behaviours are triggered automatically, with little conscious forethought. Theory suggests that making healthy behaviours habitual, and breaking the habits that underpin many ingrained unhealthy behaviours, promotes long-term behaviour change. This has prompted interest in incorporating habit formation and disruption strategies into behaviour change interventions. Yet, notable research gaps limit understanding of how to harness habit to change real-world behaviours. Methods Discussions among health psychology researchers and practitioners, at the 2019 European Health Psychology Society ‘Synergy Expert Meeting’, generated pertinent questions to guide further research into habit and health behaviour. Results In line with the four topics discussed at the meeting, 21 questions were identified, concerning: how habit manifests in health behaviour (3 questions); how to form healthy habits (5 questions); how to break unhealthy habits (4 questions); and how to develop and evaluate habit-based behaviour change interventions (9 questions). Conclusions While our questions transcend research contexts, accumulating knowledge across studies of specific health behaviours, settings, and populations will build a broader understanding of habit change principles and how they may be embedded into interventions. We encourage researchers and practitioners to prioritise these questions, to further theory and evidence around how to create long-lasting health behaviour change.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy; 1701 Psychology; Clinical Psychology
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SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2021 12:53
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2022 16:24

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