Building health behavior models to guide the development of just-in-time adaptive interventions: A pragmatic framework

Inbal Nahum-Shani, Eric B. Hekler, Donna Spruijt-Metz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

306 Scopus citations


Advances in wireless devices and mobile technology offer many opportunities for delivering just-in-time adaptive interventions (JITAIs)-suites of interventions that adapt over time to an individual's changing status and circumstances with the goal to address the individual's need for support, whenever this need arises. A major challenge confronting behavioral scientists aiming to develop a JITAI concerns the selection and integration of existing empirical, theoretical and practical evidence into a scientific model that can inform the construction of a JITAI and help identify scientific gaps. The purpose of this paper is to establish a pragmatic framework that can be used to organize existing evidence into a useful model for JITAI construction. This framework involves clarifying the conceptual purpose of a JITAI, namely, the provision of just-in-time support via adaptation, as well as describing the components of a JITAI and articulating a list of concrete questions to guide the establishment of a useful model for JITAI construction. The proposed framework includes an organizing scheme for translating the relatively static scientific models underlying many health behavior interventions into a more dynamic model that better incorporates the element of time. This framework will help to guide the next generation of empirical work to support the creation of effective JITAIs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1209-1219
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Psychology
StatePublished - 2015


  • Just-in-time adaptive interventions
  • Mobile health
  • Pragmatic framework
  • Support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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