An International Perspective on Improving the Quality and Potential of Behavioral Clinical Trials

  • Simon L. BaconEmail author
  • Kim L. Lavoie
  • Gregory Ninot
  • Susan Czajkowski
  • Kenneth E. Freedland
  • Susan Michie
  • Paul Montgomery
  • Lynda H. Powell
  • Bonnie Spring
  • for the International Behavioural Trials Network (IBTN)
Physical Activity (D Warburton, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Physical Activity


Healthy behaviors (e.g., eating a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, smoking cessation) are associated with a reduction in the incidence and mortality of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease. There have been many examples of health behavior interventions leading to improvements in NCDs and their risk factors, such as hypertension. However, despite their potential benefits, the uptake of existing behavioral interventions has been limited. Among many barriers to implementation of behavioral treatments are concerns about methodological inadequacies. The current manuscript discusses recent advances in frameworks for the development of interventions, the reporting of trials and their protocols, and areas which need further work. The goal of this article is to increase awareness and encourage further debate about how best to promote high-quality behavioral intervention research.


Behavioral trials Clinical trials Control groups Methodology Outcomes Treatment fidelity International Behavioural Trials Network 



The members of the IBTN ( would like to thank the Canadian Institutes of Health Research—MPE 132280 for the initial funding for the network and Mr. Guillaume Lacoste for overseeing the coordination of the network. In addition, Drs. Bacon and Lavoie both received salary support from the Fonds de Recherche du Quebec—Sante and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research which aid in the maintenance of the network.

Founding Members of the IBTN




Simon Bacon, PhD

Concordia University and Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal

Professor of Exercise Science and Co-Director of the Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre

Kim Lavoie, PhD

Université du Québec à Montréal and Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal

Professor of Psychology and Co-Director of the Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre

Gregory Ninot, PhD

University of Montpellier

Director of the Epsylon Laboratory

Jean Bourbeau, MD

Montreal Chest Institute and McGill University

Director of the Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit (RECRU)

Isabelle Boutron, MD

University Paris Descartes and INSERM U738

Professor of Clinical Epidemiology

Tim Caulfield, PhD

University of Alberta

Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy

Susan Czajkowski, PhD

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, NIH

Program Director

Karina Davidson, PhD

Columbia University

Director of the Center for Behavioral and Cardiovascular Health

Kenneth Freedland, PhD

Washington University School of Medicine

Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology

Gaston Godin, PhD

Laval University

Professor Emeritus

Susan Michie, PhD

University College London

Director of the Health Psychology Research Group

David Moher, PhD

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

University of Ottawa Research Chair

Paul Montgomery, DPhil

Oxford University

Professor of Psycho-Social Intervention

Lynda Powell, PhD

Rush University Medical Center

Charles J. and Margaret Roberts Professor of Preventive Medicine

Lise Rochaix, PhD

Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Professeur des Universités en Sciences économiques

David Secko, PhD

Concordia University

Team Leader of the Concordia Science Journalism Project

Stan Shapiro, PhD

McGill University

Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Bonnie Spring, PhD

Northwestern University

Director of the Center for Behavior and Health

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Kenneth Freedland, Kim Lavoie, Susan Czajkowski, Susan Michie, Lynda H. Powell, Gregory Ninot, and Bonnie Spring have no conflicts of interest. Simon Bacon received a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Fonds de Recherche du Quebec—Sante. Paul Montgomery received support from CIHR.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon L. Bacon
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Kim L. Lavoie
    • 1
    • 4
  • Gregory Ninot
    • 5
    • 6
  • Susan Czajkowski
    • 7
  • Kenneth E. Freedland
    • 8
  • Susan Michie
    • 9
  • Paul Montgomery
    • 10
  • Lynda H. Powell
    • 11
  • Bonnie Spring
    • 12
  • for the International Behavioural Trials Network (IBTN)
  1. 1.Montreal Behavioural Medicine CentreHôpital du Sacré-Cœur de MontréalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Centre de réadaptation Jean-Jacques-GauthierHôpital du Sacré-Cœur de MontréalMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Department of Exercise ScienceConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontrealCanada
  5. 5.Epsylon Research UnitUniversity of MontpellierMontpellierFrance
  6. 6.iCEPSUniversity of MontpellierMontpellierFrance
  7. 7.National Heart, Lung and Blood InstituteNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  8. 8.Department of PsychiatryWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA
  9. 9.Department of Clinical, Educational and Health PsychologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  10. 10.Centre for Evidence-Based InterventionOxford UniversityOxfordUK
  11. 11.Department of Preventive MedicineRush University Medical CenterChicagoUSA
  12. 12.Department of Preventive MedicineNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA

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