Profesional Development Workshop

Day 1: Tuesday, 13 September


Using theory and behaviour change techniques to inform interventions: the selection process

Session convener: Stephanie Lyons, University of Manchester

The Medical Research Council (MRC) Complex Intervention Development Framework recommends the inclusion of behaviour change theory during design. There is little guidance included, however, on how to select a theory, meaning that researchers often use a 'favourite' or familiar theory, rather than the one that may be most useful. The aim of this session will be to equip participants with the skills to systematically appraise and select behaviour change theory and techniques when designing public/mental health interventions. The session will begin with an introduction to the MRC framework, what behaviour change theory is and why it is important to include during intervention design. We will then introduce a new systematic method of selecting behaviour change theory and techniques, and illustrate the method using an example intervention. Following this, participants will have the opportunity to practice the new method in a series of activities, by first using the example intervention (e.g. systematically assessing the usefulness of several theories based on pre-designed eligibility criteria, systematically assessing behaviour change techniques to include in the intervention) and then applying their new skills to an intervention they are working on now or may develop in the future (e.g. developing their own eligibility criteria to select a behaviour change theory, and mapping appropriate behaviour change techniques). The facilitators will be on-hand to support participants throughout the session, and in-between activities, will encourage the group to discuss the advantages of using the new method and how to overcome any difficulties.