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I DEVELOPING INTERVENTIONS: HEART OF THE MATTER

The heart of the matter in behavioral intervention research is, obviously, the intervention. All other research-related considerations, such as the selection of outcome measures, study design, sampling, and recruitment processes, emanate from the purpose/goals of the intervention and the behavior, policy, and/or health care protocol that the intervention is intended to address.

Therefore, in Part I, we begin with a focus on the important and interrelated considerations in developing a behavioral intervention. This includes an examination of the: promises, challenges, and contexts of behavioral interventions (Chapter 1); pipelines for intervention advancement (Chapter 2); discovery period in which the anatomy of an intervention is developed (Chapter 3); role of theory as a driver of intervention development (and testing) (Chapter 4); selection of delivery characteristics of interventions (Chapter 5); ways to standardize protocols and practices (Chapter 6); and use of technology as a mechanism for delivering, monitoring, and analyzing interventions (Chapter 7).

The key “take home” points of Part I include the following:

  • ? Interventions occur in a broad social ecological context that needs to be understood.
  • ? A systems and user-centered design approach is essential for advancing novel interventions that are responsive to real-world contexts and needs of targeted populations.
  • ? The evidence base for interventions is advanced through a series of iterative steps or phases.
  • ? Interventions have a common etiology, referred to as “a period of discovery” in which the problem area, ways to ameliorate it, and targeted populations at risk are carefully identified.
  • ? Theories or conceptual frameworks to understand why and how interventions work can maximize impact.
  • ? Delivery characteristics of interventions need to be carefully chosen on the basis of theory; empirical evidence; and the specific goals, problem area, target population, context for delivery, and available resources.
  • ? Standardization is critical to ensure treatment fidelity and internal validity, and to enable replication and wide-scale implementation.
  • ? Technologies have an important role in the delivery, monitoring, and evaluation of interventions.
 
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