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Using Confidence Interval-Based Estimation of Relevance to Select Social-Cognitive Determinants for Behavior Change Interventions

Department of Health Promotion, Maastricht University/CAPHRI, Maastricht, Netherlands Faculty of Psychology and Education Science, Open University of the Netherlands, Heerlen, Netherlands Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Department of Work and Social Psychology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands Jellinek Preventie, Arkin, Amsterdam, Netherlands

When developing an intervention aimed at behavior change, one of the crucial steps in the development process is to select the most relevant social-cognitive determinants. These determinants can be seen as the buttons one needs to push to establish behavior change. Insight into these determinants is needed to select behavior change methods (i.e., general behavior change techniques that are applied in an intervention) in the development process. Therefore, a study on determinants is often conducted as formative research in the intervention development process. Ideally, all relevant determinants identified in such a study are addressed by an intervention. However, when developing a behavior change intervention, there are limits in terms of, for example, resources available for intervention development and the amount of content that participants of an intervention can be exposed to. Hence, it is important to select those determinants that are most relevant to the target behavior as these determinants should be addressed in an intervention. The aim of the current paper is to introduce a novel approach to select the most relevant social-cognitive determinants and use them in intervention development. This approach is based on visualization of confidence intervals for the means and correlation coefficients for all determinants simultaneously. This visualization facilitates comparison, which is necessary when making selections. By means of a case study on the determinants of using a high dose of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (commonly known as ecstasy), we illustrate this approach. We provide a freely available tool to facilitate the analyses needed in this approach.