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Using the Internet to Help People to Act on Intentions: Monitoring, Planning and Environmental Restructuring. Thomas Webb University of Sheffield, UK. SYNERGY 2008: How can psychological theory best be used in the development of internet-based interventions?. Intention. Behaviour.

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Using the Internet to Help People to Act on Intentions: Monitoring, Planning and Environmental Restructuring

Thomas Webb

University of Sheffield, UK

SYNERGY 2008: How can psychological theory best be used in the development of internet-based interventions?

health behaviour change

Intention

Behaviour

Motivational interventions

Volitional interventions

Health Behaviour Change
  • Target motivation or volition?
  • Or both?
    • Milne, S., Orbell, S., & Sheeran, P. (2002). Combining motivational and volitional interventions to promote exercise participation. British Journal of Health Psychology, 7, 163-184.
control theory carver scheier 1982

Monitoring interventions

Planning interventions

Environmental restructuring

Control Theory(Carver & Scheier, 1982)

Reference value

Comparator

Input function (perception)

Output function (behaviour)

Impact on environment

Disturbance

monitoring
Monitoring
  • Self-monitoring of behaviour
    • The person is asked to keep a record of specified behavior/s
      • (Abraham & Michie, in press)
  • Self-monitoring of behavioural outcome
    • The person is asked to keep a record of specified measures expected to be influenced by the behaviour change
      • (Abraham & Michie, revised taxonomy)
cussler et al 2008
Cussler et al. (2008)
  • N = 135 women randomly allocated to either internet or self-directed groups
  • Internet group used a website to gain information and complete logs concerning their weight, diet, and exercise progress over a 12 month period
  • Self-directed group had no contact
action planning
Action Planning
  • Involves detailed planning of what the person will do including a very specific definition of the behaviour, namely both (a) how and at least one of (b) when and (c) where to act
      • (Abraham & Michie, revised taxonomy)
  • Implementation intentions
    • If-then contingent structure linking opportunity with response
    • If opportunity Y arises, then I will perform goal-directed behaviour Z!
    • Effective across a wide-variety of domains
      • (Gollwitzer & Sheeran, 2006)
sniehotta et al 2007
Sniehotta et al (2007)
  • N = 239 participants attended a lecture on oral self-care, completed a baseline questionnaire, received a packet of dental floss, information, and a flossing guide
  • E-mailed link to an online questionnaire that – for one-half of the participants – included a planning intervention
    • I will use dental floss at ____ (WHEN) at or in ____ (WHERE) before/after ____(activity, e.g., washing my face)
environmental restructuring
Environmental Restructuring
  • The person is prompted to alter the environment in ways so that it is more supportive of the target behaviour (e.g. altering cues or reinforcers)
      • (Abraham & Michie, revised taxonomy)
kosma cardinal mccubbin 2005
Kosma, Cardinal, & McCubbin (2005)
  • N = 151 physically inactive people with a registered disability were randomly allocated to intervention or control conditions
  • Intervention group received 4-week web-based physical activity intervention with a different lesson plan for each week
    • Among other materials, participants received “reminders about the positive societal changes with regards to accessible facilities…”
  • Control group received a ‘thought of the week’ and encouraging messages to maintain interest in the study
for discussion
For Discussion…
  • Do we gain anything from using Control Theory as a framework for behaviour change?
  • Which behaviour change techniques work well in combination?
    • Can Control Theory help to inform this?
  • Which behaviour change techniques work well in isolation?
  • Should people be allowed to make their own plans or do researchers ‘know best’?
  • Should environmental restructuring be an individual or a societal responsibility?
references
References

Abraham, C. S., & Michie, S. (in press). A taxonomy of behavior change techniques used in interventions. Health Psychology.

Abraham, C. S., & Michie, S. (personal communication). A revised taxonomy of behavior change techniques used in interventions.

Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1982). Control theory: A useful conceptual framework for personality, social, clinical and health psychology. Psychological Bulletin, 92, 111-135.

Cussler, E. C., Teixeira, P. J., Going, S. B., Houtkooper, L. B., Metcalfe, L. L., Blew, R. M., Ricketts, J. R., Lohman, J., Stanford, V. A., & Lohman, T. G. (2008). Maintenance of weight loss in overweight middle-aged women through the internet. Obesity, 16, 1052-1060.

Gollwitzer, P. M., & Sheeran, P. (2006). Implementation intentions and goal achievement: A meta-analysis of effects and processes. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 69-120.

Kosma, M., Cardinal, B. J., & McCubbin, J. A. (2005). A pilot study of a web-based physical activity motivational program for adults with physical disabilities. Disability Rehabilitation, 27, 1435-1442

Sniehotta, F. F., Soares, V. A., & Dombrowski, S. U. (2007). Randomized controlled trial of a one-minute intervention changing oral self-care behavior. Journal of Clinical Dentistry, 86, 641-645.