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Theories of behaviour and behaviour change across the social and behavioural sciences: a scoping review

Davis, R; Campbell, R; Hildon, Z; Hobbs, L; Michie, S; (2015) Theories of behaviour and behaviour change across the social and behavioural sciences: a scoping review. Health Psychology Review , 9 (3) 10.1080/17437199.2014.941722. Green open access

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Abstract

Interventions to change health-related behaviours typically have modest effects and may be more effective if grounded in appropriate theory. Most theories applied to public health interventions tend to emphasise individual capabilities and motivation, with limited reference to context and social factors. Intervention effectiveness may be increased by drawing on a wider range of theories incorporating social, cultural and economic factors that influence behaviour. The primary aim of this paper is to identify theories of behaviour and behaviour change of potential relevance to public health interventions across four scientific disciplines: psychology, sociology, anthropology and economics. We report in detail the methodology of our scoping review used to identify these theories including which involved a systematic search of electronic databases, consultation with a multidisciplinary advisory group, web searching, searching of reference lists and hand searching of key behavioural science journals. Of secondary interest we developed a list of agreed criteria for judging the quality of the theories. We identified 82 theories and 9 criteria for assessing theory quality. The potential relevance of this wide-ranging number of theories to public health interventions and the ease and usefulness of evaluating the theories in terms of the quality criteria are however yet to be determined.

Type: Article
Title: Theories of behaviour and behaviour change across the social and behavioural sciences: a scoping review
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/17437199.2014.941722
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17437199.2014.941722
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2014 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/Licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: behaviour change, behavioural interventions, health behaviour, theory
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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1437593
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