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.

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Correspondence to Rebecca A. Watson.

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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One of the authors is employed by Vida Health as a coach lead and participated as a health coach in the unpublished study mentioned in the manuscript.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.

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Finn, H.E., Watson, R.A. The Use of Health Coaching to Improve Health Outcomes: Implications for Applied Behavior Analysis. Psychol Rec 67, 181–187 (2017) doi:10.1007/s40732-017-0241-4

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  • Health coaching
  • Behavior analysis
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Self-management
  • Individual feedback