Health Behavior Change: Moving from Observation to Intervention

Paschal Sheeran, William M.P. Klein, Alexander J. Rothman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

238 Scopus citations


How can progress in research on health behavior change be accelerated? Experimental medicine (EM) offers an approach that can help investigators specify the research questions that need to be addressed and the evidence needed to test those questions. Whereas current research draws predominantly on multiple overlapping theories resting largely on correlational evidence, the EM approach emphasizes experimental tests of targets or mechanisms of change and programmatic research on which targets change health behaviors and which techniques change those targets. There is evidence that engaging particular targets promotes behavior change; however, systematic studies are needed to identify and validate targets and to discover when and how targets are best engaged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-600
Number of pages28
JournalAnnual review of psychology
StatePublished - Jan 3 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2017 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


  • Construct
  • Correlational data
  • Experimental medicine
  • Interventions
  • Theory
  • Trials


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