Special Issue "Health Behavior Change: Theories, Methods, and Interventions"

A special issue of Behavioral Sciences (ISSN 2076-328X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Martin S. Hagger
grade E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Psychological Sciences, University of California, California, CA 92697, USA
2. Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, 40620 Jyväskylä, Finland
Interests: health psychology; behavior change; applied social psychology; motivation; social cognition
Dr. Kyra Hamilton
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University, M24 2.09, Mount Gravatt Campus, Brisbane, Australia
Interests: understanding the multiple effects of motivational; volitional; automatic processes on health behaviour and applying integrated models of behaviour to understand human motivation and change
Ms. Susette Moyers
E-Mail Website
Editorial Manager
Department of Psychological Sciences, University of California, California 92697, CA, USA
Interests: stress; health outcomes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Research has consistently linked the risk of noncommunicable, chronic illnesses and health conditions (e.g., cardiovascular disease, cancers diabetes, obesity) with health-related behaviors (e.g., physical inactivity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet). Large-scale epidemiological research has suggested that these behaviors are consistently related to all-cause mortality. Alongside the considerable human cost of noncommunicable disease, there is also a substantive economic cost of treating and managing chronic illness. Analogously, regular participation in health-promoting behaviors is associated with adaptive health outcomes, including reduced chronic disease risk and other indices of good health. Governments and health organizations have developed guidelines for many of these behaviors, outlining the optimal level of participation in these behaviors for good health and minimizing illness risk. Such organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of ramping up efforts to develop effective large-scale behavioral interventions that are effective in promoting population-level participation in health behaviors. Such efforts are focused on prevention with the ultimate goal of reversing the increasing trends in the incidence of chronic disease globally.

Governments have therefore sought to engage scientists from various disciplines in behavioral sciences to develop effective behavior change strategies aimed at increasing participation in key health-related behaviors for illness prevention and health promotion. Researchers in many fields, particularly psychology, but also behavioral medicine, sociology, behavioral economics, and implementation science, are foremost in contribution to research efforts on behavior change. Scientists in these disciplines have been primarily responsible for conducting research and disseminating evidence on behavior change, ranging from basic theory-based research on determinants and processes to translational research in which evidence-based strategies are leveraged to change behavior. This research has applied scientific principles to study behavior change with the goal of informing the development of effective behavioral solutions to the global health problems caused by noncommunicable illness and conditions. These researchers are at the forefront of the newly emerging science of behavior change.

As the science of behavior change enters the mainstream, the importance of continued development of behavior change theories, methods, and interventions is essential toward progressing optimally effective solutions to the large-scale health problems caused by noncommunicable disease. The aim of this Special Issue of Behavioral Sciences is to showcase research in the emerging science of behavior change and provide a platform for researchers in multiple disciplines in the behavioral and social sciences to provide high-quality research that contributes to advancing knowledge on behavior change. The Special Issue will begin with a series of articles from leading theorists and researchers in the field of behavior change that not only summarize the current state of the science in specific subfields of behavior change but also outline contemporary advances and new ideas that are gaining traction among researchers in the field and inspiring new lines of research in the pursuit of effective health behavior interventions. Importantly, the major part of the Special Issue will comprise research articles disseminating the latest findings of studies on behavior change from teams across the world. Articles are expected to be at the forefront of innovation in terms of theory application, methodological advances, and intervention design and incrementally move knowledge on behavior change forward. The Special Issue will also provide a forum for scholarly debate on priority ‘hot’ topics in the field of behavior change.

Suggested topics for articles eligible for this Special Issue include but are not limited to:

  • Development and application of theories of behavior change
  • Policy and practice of behavior change in health contexts
  • Behavior change technique development
  • Mechanisms of action of behavior change interventions
  • Mediators and moderators of behavior change interventions
  • Intervention design in behavior change
  • Testing behavior change interventions
  • Development of innovative behavior change methods
  • Nudging and choice architecture
  • Translation of behavior change interventions to practice
  • Qualitative exploration of behavior change interventions
  • Developments in measurement in behavior change

Prof. Martin S. Hagger
Dr. Kyra Hamilton
Guest Editors

Ms. Susette Moyers
Editorial Manager

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 papers will be 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 1400 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

  • health
  • Behavior Change
  • health theories
  • health intervention

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Studying Behaviour Change Mechanisms under Complexity
Behav. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs11050077 - 14 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2672
Abstract
Understanding the mechanisms underlying the effects of behaviour change interventions is vital for accumulating valid scientific evidence, and useful to informing practice and policy-making across multiple domains. Traditional approaches to such evaluations have applied study designs and statistical models, which implicitly assume that [...] Read more.
Understanding the mechanisms underlying the effects of behaviour change interventions is vital for accumulating valid scientific evidence, and useful to informing practice and policy-making across multiple domains. Traditional approaches to such evaluations have applied study designs and statistical models, which implicitly assume that change is linear, constant and caused by independent influences on behaviour (such as behaviour change techniques). This article illustrates limitations of these standard tools, and considers the benefits of adopting a complex adaptive systems approach to behaviour change research. It (1) outlines the complexity of behaviours and behaviour change interventions; (2) introduces readers to some key features of complex systems and how these relate to human behaviour change; and (3) provides suggestions for how researchers can better account for implications of complexity in analysing change mechanisms. We focus on three common features of complex systems (i.e., interconnectedness, non-ergodicity and non-linearity), and introduce Recurrence Analysis, a method for non-linear time series analysis which is able to quantify complex dynamics. The supplemental website provides exemplifying code and data for practical analysis applications. The complex adaptive systems approach can complement traditional investigations by opening up novel avenues for understanding and theorising about the dynamics of behaviour change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behavior Change: Theories, Methods, and Interventions)
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Article
Social Cognition and Socioecological Predictors of Home-Based Physical Activity Intentions, Planning, and Habits during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Behav. Sci. 2020, 10(9), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs10090133 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2894
Abstract
‘Shelter in place’ and ‘lockdown’ orders implemented to minimize the spread of COVID-19 have reduced opportunities to be physically active. For many, the home environment emerged as the only viable option to participate in physical activity. Previous research suggests that availability of exercise [...] Read more.
‘Shelter in place’ and ‘lockdown’ orders implemented to minimize the spread of COVID-19 have reduced opportunities to be physically active. For many, the home environment emerged as the only viable option to participate in physical activity. Previous research suggests that availability of exercise equipment functions as a determinant of home-based physical activity participation among the general adult population. The purpose of this study was to use a socioecological framework to investigate how the availability of exercise equipment at home predicts behavioral decisions, namely, intention, planning, and habits with respect to participation in physical activity. Participants (n = 429) were adults recruited in U.S. states subject to lockdown orders during the pandemic who completed measures online. A structural equation model indicated that availability of cardiovascular and strength training equipment predicted physical activity planning. Social cognition constructs mediated the relationship between each type of exercise equipment and intentions. Autonomous motivation and perceived behavioral control were found to mediate the relationship between each type of exercise equipment and habit. The availability of large cardiovascular and strength training equipment demonstrated significant predictive effects with intention, planning, habit, and autonomous motivation. Facilitating these constructs for home-based physical activity interventions could be efficacious for promoting physical activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behavior Change: Theories, Methods, and Interventions)
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