Bird, E., Baker, G., Powell, J. and Mutrie, N.
A systematic review of behaviour change techniques in walking and cycling interventions: the iConnect study.
South West Public Health Scientific Conference, Weston-super-Mare, 1st February, 2012.
iConnect, funded by EPSRC, is an interdisciplinary research programme, aiming to measure and evaluate changes in travel, physical activity and carbon emissions associated with the Sustrans’ Connect2 programme. Until recently, the categorisation of behaviour change techniques (BCTs) has been problematic due a failure to standardise the vocabulary used across intervention programmes. This has restricted the potential for understanding how intervention content is related to the efficacy of an intervention and this is an important consideration for the Connect2 programme. This research attempts to address this gap in the evidence base for the design of interventions to promote walking and cycling in the UK.
Adopting a recently developed twenty-six item taxonomy of behaviour change techniques, this systematic review categorised the BCTs incorporated into the content of interventions designed to promote walking and cycling; with the aim of identifying which techniques were associated with effectiveness, to help guide the development of future walking and cycling interventions.
A systematic review of controlled interventions that reported a significant change in walking and cycling were obtained from eight electronic databases. Study design features, context, methodology and outcomes were extracted. Intervention content was independently extracted and categorised according to a validated twenty six item taxonomy of BCTs.
Eighteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Overall study quality was fair. Intervention content varied greatly in terms of vocabulary and level of detail provided. Studies reporting a significant improvement in walking and cycling outcomes incorporated a significantly higher number of BCTs into their design, when compared with studies that failed to produce significant changes, or did not report on significance.
Although the inclusion of multiple BCTs into intervention design is a time consuming, complex process; their inclusion appears to improve the potential of the intervention to achieve the desired outcomes of promoting and increasing walking and cycling behaviour.
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