Empiric validation of a process for behavior change

Diane L. Elliot, Linn Goldberg, David Mackinnon, Krista W. Ranby, Kerry S. Kuehl, Esther L. Moe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Most behavior change trials focus on outcomes rather than deconstructing how those outcomes related to programmatic theoretical underpinnings and intervention components. In this report, the process of change is compared for three evidence-based programs’ that shared theories, intervention elements and potential mediating variables. Each investigation was a randomized trial that assessed pre- and post- intervention variables using survey constructs with established reliability. Each also used mediation analyses to define relationships. The findings were combined using a pattern matching approach. Surprisingly, knowledge was a significant mediator in each program (a and b path effects [p<0.01]). Norms, perceived control abilities, and self-monitoring were confirmed in at least two studies (p<0.01 for each). Replication of findings across studies with a common design but varied populations provides a robust validation of the theory and processes of an effective intervention. Combined findings also demonstrate a means to substantiate process aspects and theoretical models to advance understanding of behavior change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-456
Number of pages8
JournalTranslational behavioral medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Behavior change
  • Mediation
  • Peer-led

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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