Integrating Behavioral Science with Mobile (mHealth) Technology to Optimize Health Behaviour Change Interventions

Jane C. Walsh, Jenny M. Groarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
119 Downloads (Pure)


Recent rapid advances in technology have provided us with a golden opportunity to effect change in health-related outcomes for chronic disease by employing digital technologies to encourage and support behavior change to promote and maintain health. Behavior change theories are the bedrock to developing evidence-based mHealth interventions. Digital technologies enable researchers to empirically test behavioral theories in “real-world” contexts using behavior change techniques (Hekler, Michie, et al., 2016). According to the European Commission (2014) among the world’s population of 7 billion, there are over 5 billion mobile devices and over 90% of the users have their mobile device near them 24 hr a day. This provides a huge opportunity for behavior change and one that health psychologists have already begun to address. However, while a novel and exciting area of research, many early studies have been criticized for lacking a strong evidence base in both design and implementation. The European Commission conducted a public consultation in 2016 on the issues surrounding the use of mHealth tools (e.g., apps) and found a lack of global standards was a significant barrier. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) mHealth Technical Evidence Review Group developed the mHealth evidence reporting and assessment (mERA) checklist for specifying the content of mHealth interventions. Health psychologists play a key role in developing mHealth interventions, particularly in the management of chronic disease. This article discusses current challenges facing widespread integration of mobile technology into self-management of chronic disease including issues around security and regulation, as well as investigating mechanisms to overcoming these barriers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-48
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Psychologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2019


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