A taxonomy of modes of delivery of behaviour change interventions: development and evaluation


  • R. Carey
  • E. Jenkins
  • P. Williams
  • F. Evans
  • M. Horan
  • M. Johnston
  • R. West
  • S. Michie


Background: A well-reported behavioural intervention clearly describes its components – for example, its behaviour change techniques. Another important component is how those techniques are delivered (i.e. their modes of delivery), which has been found to impact on intervention effectiveness. The aim of this research was to develop a clear, usable, and reliable classification system with which to describe modes of delivery of behavioural interventions. Methods: The research was conducted in three phases. First, a preliminary mode of delivery taxonomy was developed by extracting information from 100 articles reporting behaviour change interventions. Secondly, the international research community was invited to send feedback on the taxonomy through an open peer-review exercise, and the taxonomy was revised accordingly. Finally, to assess inter-rater reliability and to identify limitations, the refined taxonomy was then applied to a set of 55 articles. Findings: A four-level hierarchical taxonomy was developed, including four top-level categories (Human, Hard-Copy, Digital, and Somatic) as well as a separate classification system for eight cross-cutting features (e.g. ‘tailoring’), which were applicable to all levels of the hierarchy. There was high inter-rater reliability (Kappa > .85) for the revised taxonomy. Discussion: This research has developed a reliable classification system for describing mode of delivery of behavioural interventions, and demonstrated the value of including open peer-review in the process. The findings will contribute to a broader programme of research that aims to build an ontology to specify relationships between techniques, modes of delivery, exposure, behaviours, context, and mechanisms of action in behavioural interventions.





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