Effective interventions use established behavior change methods
Using the internet to promote health behavior change: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the impact of theoretical basis, use of behavior change techniques, and mode of delivery on efficacy. Webb TL, Joseph J, Yardley L, Michie S. J Med Internet Res. 2010. 12(1): e4.
To identify what program designs and delivery methods make an online health intervention most effective.
85 studies of online interventions, with a total sample size of 43,236 participants.
A comprehensive review (meta-analysis) of online interventions designed to change health behavior was conducted to compare techniques and the outcomes achieved by the interventions.
- The average online intervention had a small but significant effect on health-related behavior.
- Interventions that were based on behavior theory were more effective (P = .049), and, in particular, interventions based on the theory of planned behavior tended to have substantial effects on behavior.
- Interventions that used behavior change techniques also tended to be more effective compared to interventions using fewer techniques.
- Additional methods of communicating with participants, especially the use of short message service (SMS), or text, messages increased the effectiveness of online interventions.
What does this mean?
The most effective online health interventions are usually behavior theory-based, incorporate behavior change techniques and use varied modes of delivery.