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Reducing patient delay in acute coronary syndrome: Randomized controlled trial testing effect of behaviour change intervention on intentions to seek help

Farquharson, Barbara; Johnston, Marie; Williams, Brian; Smith, Karen; Dombrowski, Stephan; Jones, Claire; Treweek, Shaun; Dougall, Nadine; Grindle, Mark; Savinc, Jan; Abyhankar, Purva


Barbara Farquharson

Marie Johnston

Brian Williams

Karen Smith

Stephan Dombrowski

Claire Jones

Shaun Treweek

Mark Grindle

Purva Abyhankar


The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a behaviour change intervention to reduce patient delay with symptoms of acute coronary syndrome.

A 3-arm web-based, parallel randomized controlled trial.

The intervention comprised 12 behaviour change techniques (BCTs) embedded in a text-only or text+visual narrative (the techniques were systematically identified through systematic review and a consensus exercise). Between February and November 2017, n = 145 people who had recently experienced acute coronary syndrome were randomly allocated to intervention (‘text+visual’ or ‘text-only’) or control. Intentions to phone an ambulance immediately for acute coronary syndrome symptoms were assessed before and after the intervention using symptom scenarios, and the change in intention was compared across the three groups.

Significant increases in intention to phone an ambulance immediately for ACS symptoms were seen following the ‘text+visual’ intervention but not following ‘text-only’ or control. However, the study was underpowered to detect any significant changes in intention between the 3 groups. There were no unintended effects on intentions for non-urgent symptoms.

A ‘text+visual’ BCT-based intervention may significantly increase intention to phone an ambulance with symptoms of ACS. Further testing of the effect of the intervention on actual behaviour is required.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 25, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 8, 2022
Publication Date 2023-02
Deposit Date Jul 27, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 15, 2023
Journal British Journal of Health Psychology
Print ISSN 1359-107X
Electronic ISSN 2044-8287
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 1
Pages 188-207
Keywords Acute coronary syndrome, BCT, behaviour, behaviour change, cardiac, delay, intervention, patient delay
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