Prioritizing Multiple Health Behavior Change Research Topics: Expert Opinions in Behavior Change Science

Amato et al. (2016) full text summary PDF

For which topic were research priorities identified?

multiple health behavior change

In which location was the research priority setting conducted?


Why was it conducted at all?

Multiple health behavior change (MHBC) interventions have strong potential to advance health promotion, increase health benefits and quality of life, and reduce healthcare costs. Despite these accomplishments, MHBC approaches remain under studied where the growth of the MHBC field may be stunted by inconsistent and varied measurement, methodological issues, and a lack of understanding of behavior change theory. Further, it is not known if MHBC issues are similar or different in minority/ underserved versus general populations. A strategic consensus among experts in the field on research priorities would be helpful to advance theory, measurement, interventions, and MHBC practice in a timely fashion.

What was the objective?

to provide strategic direction to the emerging multiple health behavior change field by identifying and comparing research priorities for both general and underserved / minority populations

What was the outcome?

a ranking list of 4 research topics

How long did the research prioritization take?

March 2012 - April 2012

Which methods were used to identify research priorities?


How were the priorities for research identified exactly?

Step 1: literature review: reviewing MHBC special issue (volume 46) of Preventive Medicine in 2008 to identify research priority topics. Step 2: survey: participants were asked to rate the importance of 24 research priority topics separately for the general population and for the underserved/ minority population (i.e., 48 ratings per participant) and asked to identify additional needs with open-ended responses

Which stakeholders took part?

Members of the Society of Behavior Medicine: interdisciplinary professionals from affiliated organizations such as non-profits, research, government, student, and academic institutions. Overall, 76 stakeholders participated: psychology (53 %), public health (24 %), nursing (6 %), medicine (3 %), social work (1 %), or other (13 %).

How were stakeholders recruited?

Participants were recruited through the Society of Behavioral Medicine email listservs.

Were stakeholders actively involved or did they just participate?

Stakeholders were mere participants of the research prioritization process; they were not actively involved in the process.