Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

From Theory to Intervention: Mapping Theoretically Derived Behavioural Determinants to Behaviour Change Techniques

By Susan Michie, Marie Johnston, Wendy Hardeman, Jillian Joy Francis and Martin P. Eccles


Theory provides a helpful basis for designing interventions to change behaviour but offers little guidance on how to do this. This paper aims to illustrate methods for developing an extensive list of behaviour change techniques (with definitions) and for linking techniques to theoretical constructs. A list of techniques and definitions was generated from techniques published in two systematic reviews, supplemented by "brainstorming" and a systematic search of nine textbooks used in training applied psychologists. Inter-rater reliability of extracting the techniques and definitions from the textbooks was assessed. Four experts judged which techniques would be effective in changing 11 theoretical constructs associated with behaviour change. Thirty-five techniques identified in the reviews were extended to 53 by brainstorming and to 137 by consulting textbooks. Agreement for the 53 definitions was 74.7 per cent (15.4% cells completed and 59.3% cells empty for both raters). Agreement about the link between the 35 techniques and theoretical constructs was 71.7 per cent of 385 judgments (12.2% agreement that effective and 59.5% agreement that not effective). This preliminary work demonstrates the possibility of developing a comprehensive, reliable taxonomy of techniques linked to theory. Further refinement is needed to eliminate redundancies, resolve uncertainties, and complete technique definitions.Institute of Applied Health Sciences, Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health Directive, NHS NIHR Academic Unit Fundin

Topics: Behaviour and behaviour mechanism, Implementation
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Year: 2008
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2005). A causal modelling approach to the development of theory-based behaviour change programmes for trial evaluation. doi
  2. (2000). A framework for the development and evaluation of RCTs for complex interventions to improve health. London: Medical Research Council. doi
  3. (2002). Application of the Theory of Planned Behaviour in Behaviour Change Interventions: A systematic review. doi
  4. (1999). Behavior analysis: Foundations and applications to psychology.
  5. (2001). Behavior modification in applied settings, 6 th ed.
  6. (2001). Behavior modification in applied settings, 6th ed.
  7. (1977). Behavior modification: A handbook of assessment, intervention, and evaluation. doi
  8. (2001). Behavior modification: Principles of behaviour change, 2 nd ed.
  9. (1990). Behavior modification. doi
  10. (2005). Behaviour change interventions: Developing a classification system. doi
  11. (1978). Behavioural techniques. doi
  12. (2007). Categorizing the content of behavior change interventions.
  13. (2005). Changing the behaviour of healthcare professionals: The use of theory in promoting the uptake of research findings. doi
  14. (2007). Designing and evaluation complex interventions to improve health care. doi
  15. (2007). Effectiveness and efficiency of guideline dissemination and implementation strategies. doi
  16. (2002). Essential behavior analysis.
  17. (2001). Factors influencing behaviour and behaviour change.
  18. (2001). Factors influencing behaviour and behaviour change. In
  19. (2000). Framework for design and evaluation of complex interventions to improve health.
  20. (2005). Guiding the design and selection of interventions to influence the implementation of evidence-based practice: An experimental simulation of a complex intervention trial. doi
  21. (1994). Handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change. doi
  22. (1995). Health Related Behaviour Change. In I. Sharpe (Ed.), Cardiovascular Prevention in Primary Care: The Way Forward. National Forum for Coronary Disease Prevention
  23. (1986). Helping people change: A textbook of methods, 3 rd ed.
  24. (1986). Helping people change: A textbook of methods, 3rd ed.
  25. (2004). Identifying techniques that promote health behaviour change: Evidence based or evidence inspired?
  26. (2004). Intervention Mapping: Protocol for applying health psychology theory to prevention programmes. doi
  27. (2000). Interventions to prevent weight gain: A systematic review of psychological models and behaviour change methods. doi
  28. (2007). Investigating theoretical explanations for behaviour change: The case study of ProActive. Psychology & Health, doi
  29. (2005). Making psychological theory useful for implementing evidence based practice: A consensus approach. doi
  30. (2001). Prevention Program
  31. (2003). PRIME; PRocess modelling in ImpleMEntation research: Selecting a theoretical basis for interventions to change clinical practice.
  32. (2006). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. doi
  33. (2006). The Improved Clinical Effectiveness through Behavioural Research Group (ICEBeRG).
  34. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. doi
  35. (2005). What do we know about how to do audit and feedback? Pitfalls in applying evidence from a systematic review.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.