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Enhancing Reporting of Behavior Change Intervention Evaluations

Abraham, Charles DPhil*; Johnson, Blair T. PhD; de Bruin, Marijn PhD; Luszczynska, Aleksandra PhD§,‖

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: August 15th, 2014 - Volume 66 - Issue - p S293–S299
doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000000231
Supplement Article

Abstract: Many behavior change interventions for the prevention and treatment of HIV have been evaluated, but suboptimal reporting of evaluations hinders the accumulation of evidence and the replication of interventions. In this article, we address 4 practices contributing to this problem. First, detailed descriptions of the interventions and their implementation are often unavailable. Second, content of active control group content (such as usual care or support designed by researchers) often varies markedly between trials; yet, descriptions of this content are routinely omitted. Third, detailed process evaluations revealing the mechanisms by which interventions generate their effects, and among whom, frequently are not available. Fourth, there is a lack of replication in other contexts, which limits knowledge of external validity. This article advances recommendations made by an international group of scholars constituting the Workgroup for Intervention Development and Evaluation Research (WIDER), which has developed brief guidance to journal editors to improve the reporting of evaluations of behavior change interventions, thereby serving as an addition to reporting statements such as CONSORT. Improved reporting standards would facilitate and accelerate the development of the science of behavior change and its application in implementation science to improve public health.

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*University of Exeter Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom;

Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT;

Health Psychology Group, Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom;

§University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw, Poland; and

Trauma, Health, & Hazards Center, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, CO.

Correspondence to: Charles Abraham, DPhil, University of Exeter Medical School, University of Exeter, St Luke's Campus, Exeter EX1 2LU, United Kingdom (e-mail:

Supported partially by the United Kingdom National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care of the South West Peninsula (PenCLAHRC), but the views expressed in this article are those of the authors and not necessarily those of NIHR or the UK Department of Health. The work was also facilitated by United States Public Health Service grant R01-MH58563 to B.T.J.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

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© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins