In the latest Research Methods and Implementation Science seminar from CaHRU and the Lincoln Institute for Health (LIH) which took place on 22 January 2019, Dr Arwel Jones and Hayley Robinson from the LIH presented on The Behaviour Change Wheel. In their talk they described how the Behaviour Change Wheel is used in the context of health research and explained how they had applied this in studies they were conducting.
The starting premise of the Behaviour Change Wheel is that there are three core components that determine behaviour: capability, opportunity, and motivation. This core circle is surrounded by a ring that represents the types of intervention that could target these three determinants with a view to eliciting behavioural change. This ring is then surrounded by an outer ring representing the wider context and policies that can enable an intervention.
The presenters related the concept of the Behaviour Change Wheel to reducing the incidence of Coronary Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is a respiratory condition associated with reduced lung capacity, restricted ability to exercise and increased risk of hospitalisation. This is improved by pulmonary rehabilitation but patients often do not complete this treatment. To address this, an intervention was designed including physical exercise, education and behaviour change intended to improve levels of exercise and thereby lung function in COPD patients , thus helping to maintain this new behaviour.
To do so, using the Behaviour Change Wheel involved increasing their capability, opportunity and motivation for undertaking physical exercise. Having identified these components, the presenters deliberated over the types of interventions that could elicit the desired behavioural change. These ranged from the positive, like education, encouragement and persuasion, through to the more punitive, like coercion and restriction. The seminar was clear in outlining the concept of the Behaviour Change Wheel. It also described practical steps through different types of interventions and policies to achieve the desired behavioural change.
By Viet-Hai Phung