“Optimizing Digital Behavior Change Interventions” by Dr. Marta Marques on the EHP special issue

“Optimizing Digital Behavior Change Interventions” by Dr. Marta Marques on the EHP special issue

Dr. Marta Marques, integrated researcher at CHRC and NOVA Medical School, made a contribution on methodologies and frameworks for digital interventions for behavioral change for the special issue of the European Health Psychologist, being this a journal of European Health Psychology Society, dedicated to the area of Digital Health Psychologist and Computer-Tailoring: Opportunities and Challenges in Moving the Field Forward. Her contribution came from an invitation to submit her peer-reviewed paper entitled “Optimizing Digital Behavior Change Interventions”.

Dr. Marta explains the process and the purpose of this paper:

“The optimization of digital behaviour change interventions, i.e. identifying which intervention components work, which don’t work, their synergistic effects, when they work and for whom, is crucial to avoid research waste and build efficient, personalized, adaptive and scalable interventions. To support in this process, researchers have developed various frameworks, one of which is the Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST) framework, and engineering-inspired framework to support the development, optimization and evaluation of any multicomponent behavioural, biobehavioural, biomedical or social-structural interventions, unique to this framework is the optimization phase that occurs prior to the evaluation stage. While this framework is becoming widely disseminated in behavioral research and funding in the US (e.g. through NIH funding) is less used and known in Europe, and its potential for digital interventions is huge. The paper provides an overview of the MOST framework, describes how it can be applied to digital interventions, how it can be integrated with other frameworks that are more widely used in Europe such as the Behavior Change Wheel, and calls for international collaborations to advance MOST. 

The ideia came up when I was attending a MOST workshop in the US with Kate Guastaferro (co-author) and Linda Collins (founder of MOST) back in 2019. Because I had worked at the Centre for Behaviour Change at UCL with Susan Michie and had been using the Behaviour Change Wheel as the main framework to develop interventions, after the workshop Kate and I engaged in regular conversations on how different behavioral science frameworks are complementary and could be integrated to guide interventions. Further, we started to discuss the applications of MOST to complex personalized digital interventions, and the importance of establishing international collaborations on training for the use of different research designs for optimization. This was the first natural paper to work together and set the stage for ideas that we have. Together with another behavioral scientist, we are currently working on two new papers and preparing a conference symposium on the topic for the summer of 2022.”

You can see the paper and contribution of Drª Marta Marques in the European Health Psychologist: https://ehps.net/ehp/index.php/contents/issue/view/110



Andreia Santos


Marta M. Marques