Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unique software supports behavioural intervention programs

Date:
January 21, 2013
Source:
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Summary:
The internet offers users a cost-effective way of accessing information and advice on any health problem, 24-hours a day. A group of social scientists has taken advantage of this by developing software which enables other researchers to easily create interactive internet-based intervention programs to support behavioral change. The software, known as LifeGuide, is being used in intervention programs, for example to quit smoking or manage weight loss.

The internet offers users a cost-effective way of accessing information and advice on any health problem, 24-hours a day. A group of social scientists has taken advantage of this by developing software which enables other researchers to easily create interactive internet-based intervention programmes to support behavioural change. The software, known as LifeGuide, is being used in intervention programmes, for example to quit smoking or manage weight loss.

LifeGuide is a flexible tool that can be used to give tailored health advice, help users make decisions about life choices, and support them in their efforts to maintain long-term change. It has been developed by scientists at the University of Southampton with funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). As a measure of its popularity, in the last two years over 1,000 researchers worldwide have registered to use LifeGuide.

"Interventions designed to influence behaviour are a part of many people's daily life, such as personal advice, support and training from professionals, or general information provided by the media. However, advice and support can be costly and may not always be readily available to everyone," says Professor Lucy Yardley who developed LifeGuide with colleagues. "But, the internet can give access to services offering information and advice on many health problems. Services can also be made interactive and individually tailored, and they can be set up to support people with reminders, feedback, action planning and chat rooms."

Despite the advantages of working online, until LifeGuide was introduced, researchers had to programme each internet-based behavioural intervention from scratch. Consequently, development costs were high and systems were not easily modified once programmed.

"LifeGuide is a unique tool that enables researchers with no programming background to create interactive internet-based systems to support behaviour change," Professor Yardley continues. "Researchers don't need to employ special programmers and it can be readily modified to suit many different contexts."

It allows researchers to create and modify two important dimensions of behavioural interventions: providing tailored information and advice; and supporting sustained behaviour. The system also supports evaluation of interventions, such as online questionnaire assessment, and automatic follow-up.

For example, LifeGuide has been used as an application, looking at research on the prescription by doctors of antibiotics. Recently, a public health warning about over-prescription of antibiotics for minor infections was given by England's Chief Medical Officer. It was pointed out that antibiotics are increasingly losing their effectiveness as bacteria adapt and develop resistance.

While the public may feel they need antibiotics to ease infections, doctors have a responsibility to prescribe them only to people with a clear medical need. To ensure more sensible use of antibiotics for respiratory infections, Paul Little, Professor of Primary Care Research in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton and his colleagues have used LifeGuide to develop and tailor online communication training packages for health professionals in six EU countries. Professor Little says, "Using this software in the project made it easy and inexpensive to adapt our training materials for the different countries we are collaborating with."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). "Unique software supports behavioural intervention programs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130121083217.htm>.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). (2013, January 21). Unique software supports behavioural intervention programs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130121083217.htm
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). "Unique software supports behavioural intervention programs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130121083217.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mozilla Bets On Software To Sell Its Chromecast Competitor

Mozilla Bets On Software To Sell Its Chromecast Competitor

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) Mozilla's Matchstick streaming device is entering a crowded market. The company is banking on open-source software to rise above the competition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
App Teaches Kindergarteners to Code

App Teaches Kindergarteners to Code

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) They can't all read yet, but soon kindergarteners may be able to create basic computer code. Researchers in Massachusetts developed an app that teaches young kids a simple computer programming language. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Goes For Familiarity Over Novelty In Windows 10

Microsoft Goes For Familiarity Over Novelty In Windows 10

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) At a special event in San Francisco, Microsoft introduced its latest operating system, Windows 10, which combines key features from earlier versions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
French Apple Fans Discover the Apple Watch

French Apple Fans Discover the Apple Watch

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) Apple fans in France discover the latest toy, the Apple Watch. The watch comes in two sizes and an array of interchangeable, fashionable wrist straps. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins