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Developing a Taxonomy of Dyadic Behavior Change Techniques

English title Developing a Taxonomy of Dyadic Behavior Change Techniques
Applicant Berli Corina
Number 192438
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Angewande Sozial- und Gesundheitspsychologie Psychologisches Institut Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.05.2021 - 30.04.2024
Approved amount 265'301.00
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Keywords (5)

health behaviors; romantic couples; taxonomy; dyadic behavior change techniques; dyadic interventions

Lay Summary (German)

Interventionen bei Paaren, die eine Verhaltensänderung anstreben, werden momentan in der Literatur sehr dürftig und unsystematisch beschrieben. Im vorliegenden Projekt wird die Entwicklung eines Klassifikationssystems angestrebt, welches paarbasierte Interventionstechniken präzise und systematisch identifiziert und theoretisch verankert.
Lay summary


Interventionen bei Paaren, die eine Verhaltensänderung anstreben, werden momentan in der Literatur sehr dürftig und unsystematisch beschrieben. Im vorliegenden Projekt wird die Entwicklung eines Klassifikationssystems angestrebt, welches paarbasierte Interventionstechniken präzise und systematisch identifiziert und theoretisch verankert.

Inhalt und Ziele des Forschungsprojektes

Wenn Personen ihr Verhalten wie die körperliche Aktivität, das Rauchen oder die Ernährung verändern möchten, spielen enge soziale Beziehungen eine wichtige Rolle. Immer häufiger werden beispielsweise der Partner oder die Partnerin in solchen gesundheitsbezogenen Interventionen einbezogen. Allerdings ist nicht klar, welche paarbasierten Interventionstechniken erfolgreich sind. Ziel des Forschungsprojektes ist es ein Klassifikationssystem von paarbasierten Techniken in Interventionen zur Veränderung von Gesundheitsverhalten (körperliche Aktivität, Ernährung, Rauchen, Alkoholkonsum, etc.) zu entwickeln und zu überprüfen. Mit einem Netzwerk aus internationalen Experten soll eine präzise Beschreibung und zuverlässige Identifikation von theoretisch verankerten dyadischen Techniken gewährleistet werden. 

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext

Das angestrebte Klassifikationssystem soll dazu einen Beitrag leisten, dass zukünftig der Interventionsinhalt von paarbasierten Interventionen über verschiedene Disziplinen hinweg präzise beschrieben werden kann, dass Interventionen akkurat repliziert werden können, dass erfolgsversprechende paarbasierte Interventionen entwickelt werden können, und dass die Beweislage zu effektiven paarbasierten Techniken in Interventionen gestärkt werden kann.



Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.04.2021

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Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
169781 What friends are for: Comparing the effectiveness of an individual planning intervention with collaborative planning 01.04.2017 Project funding
124516 Dyadische und Individuelle Regulationsprozesse bei der Entwöhnung von Chronischem Tabakgebrauch (DIRECT) 01.11.2009 Project funding
169788 Why does Transformational Leadership Influence Teacher’s Health? - The Role of Received Social Support, Satisfaction of the Need for Relatedness, and the Implicit Affiliation Motive. 01.04.2017 Project funding
197471 Time and Ties: Dynamic modelling of temporal patterns in dyadic health behaviour change 01.08.2021 Project funding
183251 Feasibility of a digital protocol to monitor and predict suicidal ideation 01.12.2018 Digital Lives
166348 Measuring the Impact of Social Support and Common Dyadic Coping on Couple’s Dyadic Management of Type II Diabetes by a Novel Ambulatory Assessment Application for the Open Source Behavioral Intervention Platform MobileCoach 01.03.2017 Interdisciplinary projects


Health-enhancing behaviors such as being physically active, eating healthily, or using condoms as well as health-compromising behaviors such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption often have a social component. Likewise, a growing literature documents the importance of the social context in shaping health behavior change. Particularly for one of the closest personal relationships during the adult lifespan, the relationship with a romantic partner, researchers have produced a large number of theories and empirical findings to better understand the protective effect of close relationships on health. However, despite decades of research, the specific processes underlying the powerful effect of romantic relationships on health are still far from understood. This broad research field, including disciplines within psychology (e.g., health, social, clinical psychology, relationships research) as well as beyond (e.g., sociology, economics, health sciences), has produced a highly heterogeneous nomenclature and a myriad of constructs of different complexity, hampering the synthesis of empirical evidence. At the same time, there has been a rise in dyadic intervention studies, many of which involve couples to change health behavior. Overall, evidence to date suggests that dyadic interventions in romantic couples are a promising avenue for changing health behavior. However, due to poor reporting of intervention content and unsystematic labelling of intervention strategies, little is known about what exactly makes these interventions successful. In recent years, there has been considerable effort to systematically identify and classify intervention techniques used to promote health behavior change to facilitate accumulation of evidence. However, the majority of behavior change techniques identified in existing taxonomies are at the level of the individual (e.g., goal setting, self-monitoring), and intervention techniques involving any form of interaction with a non-professional dyad member (i.e. dyadic behavior change techniques) are underrepresented or not well differentiated. Thus, to understand dyadic processes in health behavior change, a systematic and reliable identification of dyadic behavior change techniques presents an important next step. The proposed Lead Agency project “Developing a Taxonomy of Dyadic Behavior Change Techniques” strives to tackle this issue. We aim to develop and evaluate a comprehensive and reliable taxonomy of theory-based distinct, clear and precise dyadic behavior change techniques (DBCTs) to change a person’s health-enhancing (e.g., physical activity, nutrition) or health-compromising (e.g., smoking, alcohol consumption) behaviors. We will use the example of romantic couples as a highly important dyad for health behavior change. By drawing on a network of international experts, we aim to establish an internationally accepted taxonomy that will ensure precise reporting of dyadic intervention content, guide the development of theory-based dyadic behavior change interventions, and facilitate evidence synthesis across disciplines on effective dyadic behavior change in romantic couples. This will lay a solid foundation for establishing future DBCT taxonomies for other dyad constellations (e.g., parent-child, buddies, peers) or contexts (e.g., mental health, stress, marital functioning).