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Behaviourial Interventions: an introductions to the Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST) for engineering better behavioural interventions

Linda Collins, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, Director of The Methodology Center, Pennsylvania State University

Monday, 29 July 2013

10am-1pm - break at 11.30am for 10 mins

Behavioral interventions, for example, interventions aimed at helping people to quit using tobacco or other drugs, increase their physical activity, lose weight, or overcome depression, play an important role in public health. In this half-day workshop I will describe an alternative framework for building and evaluating behavioral interventions. This framework, called the Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST), is a principled, engineering-inspired, empirical approach to intervention optimization and evaluation. The goal may be to develop a cost-effective intervention; an intervention that achieves a specified level of effectiveness; the briefest intervention that achieves a minimum level of effectiveness; or any other reasonable goal. The MOST framework relies heavily on resource management by strategic choice of highly efficient experimental designs. I propose that MOST offers several benefits, including more rapid long-run improvement of interventions, without requiring a dramatic increase in intervention research resources. The purpose of this workshop is to help attendees to determine whether MOST can be useful to them in their research. The workshop will include: An overview of the preparation, optimization, and evaluation phases of MOST; discussion of potential advantages of this approach; review of several applications of MOST; and resources to enable attendees to learn more. Time will be reserved for open discussion of how attendees might apply MOST in their own research.

Relevant readings:
Collins, L.M., Baker, T.B., Mermelstein, R.J., Piper, M.E., Jorenby, D.E., Smith, S.S., Schlam, T.R., Cook, J.W., & Fiore, M.C. (2011). The Multiphase Optimization Strategy for engineering effective tobacco use interventions. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 41, 208-226.

Collins, L.M., Dziak, J.R., & Li, R. (2009). Design of experiments with multiple independent variables: A resource management perspective on complete and reduced factorial designs. Psychological Methods, 14, 202-224.

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