There are many differing theories and models that try to explain what we mean by the term behaviour change. What they agree on is the outcome, a change in pattern of behaviour in an individual or a community.
In practical terms it means altering or changing someone’s attitude and behaviour, using interventions to support this change in a sustainable manner.
What do we mean by an intervention? When we talk about behaviour change interventions, we are talking about programmes of action that aim to take a step-by-step approach to changing the behaviour of a group of people.
These steps commonly but not exclusively include:
- Defining the problem or the behaviour that we want to change
- Agreeing and planning how we think we will tackle this
- Identifying who we are targeting
- Segmenting and understanding our target group
- Creating activities and communications that reach and influence the group
- Implementing the programme
- Evaluating and measuring whether the behaviour is being changed
How can we use behaviour change to improve public health?
Improving public health starts by improving the health of each individual patient.
Improving the health of the patient starts with understanding their behaviour and lifestyle choices.
Behaviour change principles and more importantly behaviour change methods and techniques can help practitioners and commissioners alike, to understand both the behaviour of individual patients and wider communities. When we understand the patient we have a better chance of influencing their attitude and behaviour to help them lead healthier lives, making choices that improve the health outcomes for them, their family and the wider community.
Behaviour change principles are often applied through social marketing campaigns and interventions.
Our maternity case study demonstrates how behaviour change works.