Engagement with digital behaviour change interventions: conceptualisation, measurement and promotion

Members of the general public are welcome to attend our seminars. However space is limited so if you would like to attend, please ring Sandra Smith at least 24 hours prior to the seminar on 0115 823 2634 to reserve a place. If Sandra Smith is unavailable contact Jan Kelly on 0115 823 2617 or contact reception on 0115 823 2600.

05 June 2017

Presenter(s): Dr Olga Perski
Time: 13.00 -14.00
Location: NHBRU, Meeting Room 1


Although evidence suggests that digital behaviour change interventions (DBCIs) can help people change a range of different health behaviours, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity and self-management of chronic conditions, “engagement” with DBCIs is typically low. This is accompanied by the observation of a positive association between engagement and, for example, successful smoking cessation, weight loss and increased fruit and vegetable intake. Although it is currently unclear whether or to what extent this relationship is confounded or subject to reverse causality, some form of engagement is considered necessary for DBCIs to be effective. As engagement is itself a behaviour, it is expected to respond to techniques found to be effective in changing other kinds of behaviours; however, an evidence-based model of how to promote engagement in practice is currently lacking. Progress in this area of research is hindered by the existence of multiple definitions and measures of engagement; this limits our ability to combine data from multiple studies to draw conclusions about what behaviour change techniques or design features are most effective in promoting engagement with DBCIs. Using smartphone applications for smoking cessation and alcohol reduction as case studies, the aim of my research is to gain a better understanding of how to conceptualise, measure and promote engagement with DBCIs through the use of a range of different methods (e.g. systematic reviews, think aloud methodology, focus groups, psychometrics, factorial randomised controlled trials). This talk will provide an overview of my research findings to date and next steps.



Originally from Stockholm, Sweden, Olga Perski obtained a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and Philosophy at the University of Bristol in 2014 and an MSc in Health Psychology at University College London in 2015. Due to a keen interest in the role of technology within health promotion and behaviour change, Olga sought the opportunity to write her MSc thesis about patterns of “engagement” with a novel smoking cessation smartphone application, which was awarded the British Psychological Society’s prize for Outstanding Thesis in MSc Health Psychology. Funded by Bupa under its partnership with University College London, Olga started her PhD in 2015 under the supervision of Professor Susan Michie, Professor Ann Blandford and Professor Robert West. Her PhD research is focused on the conceptualisation, measurement and promotion of “engagement” with digital behaviour change interventions, with a specific focus on smoking cessation and alcohol reduction smartphone applications.