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Development of a formal system for representing behaviour-change theories

West, R; Godinho, CA; Bohlen, LC; Carey, RN; Hastings, J; Lefevre, CE; Michie, S; (2019) Development of a formal system for representing behaviour-change theories. Nature Human Behaviour , 3 pp. 526-536. 10.1038/s41562-019-0561-2. Green open access

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Abstract

Use of natural language to represent behaviour-change theories has resulted in lack of clarity and consistency, hindering comparison, integration, development and use. This paper describes development of a formal system for representing behaviour-change theories that aims to improve clarity and consistency. A given theory is represented in terms of (1) its component constructs (for example, ‘self-efficacy’, ‘perceived threat’ or ‘subjective norm’), which are labelled and defined, and (2) relationships between pairs of constructs, which may be causal, structural or semantic. This formalism appears adequate to represent five commonly used theories (health belief model, information–motivation–behavioural skill model, social cognitive theory, theory of planned behaviour and the trans-theoretical model). Theory authors and experts judged that the system was able to capture the main propositions of the theories. Following this proof of concept, the next step is to assess how far the system can be applied to other theories of behaviour change.

Type: Article
Title: Development of a formal system for representing behaviour-change theories
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41562-019-0561-2
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-019-0561-2
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10077414
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