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Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 85–98 | Cite as

Applying and advancing behavior change theories and techniques in the context of a digital health revolution: proposals for more effectively realizing untapped potential

  • Arlen C. Moller
  • Gina Merchant
  • David E. Conroy
  • Robert West
  • Eric Hekler
  • Kari C. Kugler
  • Susan Michie
Article

Abstract

As more behavioral health interventions move from traditional to digital platforms, the application of evidence-based theories and techniques may be doubly advantageous. First, it can expedite digital health intervention development, improving efficacy, and increasing reach. Second, moving behavioral health interventions to digital platforms presents researchers with novel (potentially paradigm shifting) opportunities for advancing theories and techniques. In particular, the potential for technology to revolutionize theory refinement is made possible by leveraging the proliferation of “real-time” objective measurement and “big data” commonly generated and stored by digital platforms. Much more could be done to realize this potential. This paper offers proposals for better leveraging the potential advantages of digital health platforms, and reviews three of the cutting edge methods for doing so: optimization designs, dynamic systems modeling, and social network analysis.

Keywords

Behavior change theories Behavior change techniques Digital health Optimization Dynamic systems Social networks 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Rachel Kornfield and Nadyah Mohiuddin for feedback on earlier versions of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Arlen C. Moller, Gina Merchant, David E. Conroy, Robert West, Eric Hekler, Kari C. Kugler, and Susan Michie declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arlen C. Moller
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gina Merchant
    • 3
  • David E. Conroy
    • 4
  • Robert West
    • 5
  • Eric Hekler
    • 6
  • Kari C. Kugler
    • 4
  • Susan Michie
    • 5
  1. 1.Illinois Institute of TechnologyChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  3. 3.University of California, San DiegoSan DiegoUSA
  4. 4.The Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA
  5. 5.University College LondonLondonUK
  6. 6.Arizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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