Applying Psychological Theories to Promote Long-Term Maintenance of Health Behaviors

Rodney Joseph, Casey L. Daniel, Herpreet Thind, Tanya J. Benitez, Dori Pekmezi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Behavioral health theory provides a framework for researchers to design, implement, and evaluate the effects of health promotion programs. However, limited research has examined theories used in interventions to promote long-term maintenance of health behaviors. The purpose of this review was to evaluate the available literature and identify prominent behavioral health theories used in intervention research to promote maintenance of health behaviors. We reviewed theories used in intervention research assessing long-term maintenance (≥6 months postintervention) of physical activity, weight loss, and smoking cessation. Five prominent behavioral theories were referenced by the 34 studies included in the review: self-determination theory, theory of planned behavior, social cognitive theory, transtheoretical model, and social ecological model. Descriptions and examples of applications of these theories are provided. Implications for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-368
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Lifestyle Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • behavioral theory
  • health behavior
  • physical activity
  • public health
  • smoking cessation
  • weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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