The Use of Health Coaching to Improve Health Outcomes: Implications for Applied Behavior Analysis
Chronic health conditions are predominant in the USA. Health coaching has demonstrated significant results in increasing health-promotion behaviors that impact the development or progression of chronic health conditions (Simmons & Wolever, 2011). Behavior analysis has also contributed to this body of research with effective behavior-change procedures (Allen & Hine, 2015). While often not cited, the methodology used in health coaching utilizes many principles that align with applied behavior analysis. The current paper serves several purposes: (1) introduces health coaching and the potential for application within a behavior analytic framework, (2) discusses commonalities and areas behavior analysis could impact, (3) suggests implications for future research and practice, and finally, (4) urges collaboration between behavior analysts, health coaches, physicians and other professionals practicing within fields that focus on improving individual health and healthcare.
KeywordsHealth coaching Behavior analysis Chronic health conditions Self-management Individual feedback
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of Interest
One of the authors is employed by Vida Health as a coach lead and participated as a health coach in the unpublished study mentioned in the manuscript. No financial incentives were provided for participation in the study beyond pay for services as an employee, and no financial incentives were offered for submitting the manuscript for publication.
- Allen, K. D., & Hine, J. F. (2015). ABA applications in the prevention and treatment of medical problems. In H. S. Roane, J. E. Ringdahl, & T. S. Falcomata (Eds.), Clinical and organization applications of applied behavior analysis (pp. 95–124). Waltham, MA: Academic Press/Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Calloway Rankins, N. (2016) Your patient should get a health coach. Here’s why. Medpage Today’s KevinMD.com. Retrieved from http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2016/05/your-patient-should-get-a-health-coach-heres-why.html
- Chronic Diseases: The Leading Causes of Death and Disability in the United States (2016, February 23). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/
- Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
- Lawson, K. L., Jonk, Y., O’Conner, H., Riise, K. S., Eisenberg, D. M., & Kreitzer, M. J. (2013). The impact of telephonic health coaching on health outcomes on a high risk population. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 2(3), 40–7. doi: 10.7453/gahmj.2013.039.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Losing Weight (2015, May 15). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/
- Martin, G., & Hrycaiko, D. (1983). Effective behavioral coaching: What’s it all about? Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 5, 8–20.Google Scholar
- Normand, M. P., & Osborne, M. R. (2010). Promoting healthier food choices in college students using individualized dietary feedback. Behavioral Interventions, 25, 183–190.Google Scholar
- Obesity and Overweight (2016, June 16). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/obesity-overweight.html
- Olsen, J.M. & Nesbitt, B.J. (2010). Health coaching to improve healthy lifestyle behaviors: an integrative review. American Journal of Health Promotion, e1–e12. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.090313-LIT-101
- Sharma, A.E., Willard-Grace, R., Hessler, D., Bodenheimer, T., Thom, D.H. (2016). What happens after health coaching? Observational study 1 year following a randomized controlled trial. Annals of Family Medicine, vol. 14 (no. 3) 200–207. doi: 10.1370/afm.1924 Retrieved from http://www.annfammed.org/content/14/3/200
- Simmons, L. A., & Wolever, R. Q. (2011). Health coaching: Research summary (report). Durham, NC: Duke Integrative Medicine / Duke University Health System.Google Scholar
- Skinner B. F. (1987). Upon further reflection. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall; Why we are not acting to save the world; pp. 1–14.Google Scholar
- Skinner B. F. Why we are not acting to save the world. (1982, August). Paper presented at the 90th annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
- Smith, L. L., Lake, N. H., Simmons, L. A., Perlman, A., Wroth, S., & Wolever, R. Q. (2013). Integrative health coach training: A model for shifting the paradigm toward patient-centricity and meeting new national prevention goals. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 2(3), 66–74. doi: 10.7453/gahmj.2013.034.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- The Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity (2015, June 5). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/index.html.
- Welcome to the National Consortium for Credentialing Health and Wellness Coaches (2015, Fall). Retrieved from http://www.ncchwc.org/.
- Wolever, R.Q., Dreusicke, M.H. (2016). Integrative health coaching: a behavior skills approach that improves HbA1c and pharmacy claims-derived medication adherence. BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, 4 (1), doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2016-000201
- Wolever, R. Q., Dreusicke, M.H., Fikkan, J.L., Hawkins, T.V., Yeung, S.Y., Wakefield, J., Duda, L., Flowers, P., Cook, C., & Skinner, E. (2010). Integrative health coaching for patients with type 2 diabetes: A randomized clinical trial. Diabetes Educator, 36(4). doi: 10.1177/0145721710371523
- Wolever, R. Q., Simmons, L. A., Sforzo, G. A., Dill, D., Kaye, M., Bechard, E. M., et al. (2013). A systematic review of the literature on health and wellness coaching: defining a Key behavioral intervention in healthcare. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 2(4), 38–57.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar