Promoting Behavioral Change to Improve Health Outcomes

A special issue of Behavioral Sciences (ISSN 2076-328X). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Psychology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2024 | Viewed by 1570

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Bangor University, Bangor LL57 2AS, UK
Interests: dual-process approaches to behavior and change; applied behaviour change in health contexts; theories and application of health promotion and illness prevention; the influence of motivational states on cognitive processes such as attention, memory and decision-making; design thinking and innovative approaches to research design and implementation; behavioral science in policy-making and population health

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Co-Guest Editor
School of Community and Global Health, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA 91711, USA
Interests: health technology; cognitive psychology

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Co-Guest Editor
Department of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Iwate Medical University, Iwate 028-3694, Japan
Interests: psychology; mental health; traumatic stress; public health; neuroscience
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Health promotion and illness prevention interventions play a pivotal role in promoting healthier behaviors and reducing the prevalence and burden of disease in communities. These interventions utilize a multifaceted approach that includes education and awareness campaigns, behavioral techniques to influence individual and collective choices, and system changes to support citizens to make healthier choices. By educating the public about the risks and consequences of certain behaviors, individuals are better equipped to make informed decisions about their health. Likewise, interventions can involve environmental modifications, such as creating pedestrian-friendly zones or increasing the availability of fresh produce in neighborhoods. These changes make healthy choices more accessible and convenient. Policy initiatives, like taxing sugary beverages or ensuring vaccinations, can also guide behavior towards better health outcomes.

Ultimately, the combination of knowledge dissemination, targeted behavior change interventions, supportive environments, and strategic policies can lead to sustainable behavior change. The benefits of these interventions are twofold: individuals lead healthier, longer lives, and the societal costs associated with treating preventable diseases are considerably reduced. This Special Issue of Behavioral Sciences will focus on health promotion and illness prevention interventions to enable a better understanding of how to effectively and sustainability support behavior change to promote these outcomes. We are particularly interested in studies that measure behavioral outcomes. We are open to studies across different domains of health (diet, exercise, mental and physical health, etc.). We welcome original research papers and review articles in the following areas, among others:

  • Reducing health inequalities through behavioral interventions;
  • Understanding and tailoring interventions across different groups/segments of a population;
  • Scaling up interventions to group or population level;
  • The role of *type 1 and type 2 processes in health behavior (*dual-process theory cf Evans 2003; Thaler and Sunstein, 2008; Kahneman 2011);
  • Health economic approaches to prevention;
  • Analysis of intervention type (awareness and literacy, nudges, regulation, etc.);
  • Considerations of individual-level interventions vs. system-level changes.

Prof. Dr. John Parkinson
Prof. Dr. Javad Salehi Fadardi
Dr. Yuka Kotozaki
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Behavioral Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • applied behavior change
  • dual-process theory
  • intention–action gap
  • illness prevention
  • health promotion
  • nudge systems thinking
  • wellbeing
  • environmental design
  • choice architecture

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 1580 KiB  
Article
Closing the Gap: How Psychological Distance Influences Willingness to Engage in Risky COVID Behavior
by Ceridwen Williams, Paul Rauwolf, Matt Boulter and John A. Parkinson
Behav. Sci. 2024, 14(6), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs14060449 - 27 May 2024
Viewed by 369
Abstract
Pandemics, and other risk-related contexts, require dynamic changes in behavior as situations develop. Human behavior is influenced by both explicit (cognitive) and implicit (intuitive) factors. In this study, we used psychological distance as a lens to understand what influences our decision-making with regard [...] Read more.
Pandemics, and other risk-related contexts, require dynamic changes in behavior as situations develop. Human behavior is influenced by both explicit (cognitive) and implicit (intuitive) factors. In this study, we used psychological distance as a lens to understand what influences our decision-making with regard to risk in the context of COVID-19. This study was based on the rationale that our relational needs are more concrete to us than the risk of the virus. First, we explored the impact of social–psychological distance on participants’ risk perceptions and behavioral willingness. As hypothesized, we found that close social relationships of agents promoted willingness to engage in risky behavior. In the second phase, we tested an intervention designed to increase the concreteness of information about virus transmission as a mechanism to mitigate the bias of social influence. We found that the concreteness intervention resulted in significantly reduced willingness to engage in risky behavior. As such, communications aimed at changing the behavior of citizens during times of increased risk or danger should consider conceptually concrete messaging when communicating complex risk, and hence may provide a valuable tool in promoting health-related behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting Behavioral Change to Improve Health Outcomes)
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13 pages, 886 KiB  
Article
Evaluating Two Brief Motivational Interventions for Excessive-Drinking University Students
by Lee M. Hogan and W. Miles Cox
Behav. Sci. 2024, 14(5), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs14050381 - 1 May 2024
Viewed by 715
Abstract
Objective: Two brief computerized motivational interventions for excessive-drinking university students were evaluated. Method: Participants (N = 88, females = 61.5%, mean age = 21.05 years) were randomly assigned to a control group or one of two experimental groups: Computerized Brief Intervention (CBI) [...] Read more.
Objective: Two brief computerized motivational interventions for excessive-drinking university students were evaluated. Method: Participants (N = 88, females = 61.5%, mean age = 21.05 years) were randomly assigned to a control group or one of two experimental groups: Computerized Brief Intervention (CBI) or Computerized Brief Intervention-Enhanced (CBI-E). CBI followed the principles of Motivational Interviewing to motivate participants to change their drinking behavior. CBI-E additionally used the principles of Systematic Motivational Counseling to identify and discuss with participants their dysfunctional motivational patterns that were interfering with their attainment of emotional satisfaction. At baseline and a three-month follow-up, the participants completed a battery of measures of alcohol consumption and related problems. Results: At baseline, the participants were confirmed to be heavy drinkers with many drink-related negative consequences. Males and females responded differently to the interventions. During follow-up, males’ alcohol use was ordered: CBI-E < CBI < Controls. The females in all three groups reduced their alcohol use, but there were no significant group differences. Conclusions: Males responded to the interventions as expected. For females, the assessment itself seemed to serve as an effective intervention, and there were no post-intervention differences among the three groups. Suggestions for future research using CBI and CBI-E are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting Behavioral Change to Improve Health Outcomes)
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