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What Competences Are Required to Deliver Person-Person Behaviour Change Interventions: Development of a Health Behaviour Change Competency Framework

Dixon, Diane; Johnston, Marie


Diane Dixon

Marie Johnston


The competence of the person delivering person-to-person behaviour change interventions may influence the effectiveness of the intervention. However, we lack a framework for describing the range of competences involved. The objective of the current work was to develop a competency framework for health behaviour change interventions.

A preliminary framework was developed by two judges rating the relevance of items in the competency framework for cognitive behaviour therapies; adding relevant items from reviews and other competency frameworks; and obtaining feedback from potential users on a draft framework. The Health Behaviour Change Competency Framework (HBCCF) was used to analyse the competency content of smoking cessation manuals.

Judges identified 194 competency items as relevant, which were organised into two domains: foundation (12 competency topics comprising 56 competencies) and behaviour change (12 topics, 54 competencies); several of the 54 and 56 competencies were composed of sub-competencies (84 subcompetencies in total). Smoking cessation manuals included 14 competency topics from the foundation and behaviour change competency domains.

The HBCCF provides a structured method for assessing and reporting competency to deliver behaviour change interventions. It can be applied to assess a practitioner’s competency and training needs and to identify the competencies needed for a particular intervention. To date, it has been used in self-assessments and in developing training programmes. We propose the HBCCF as a practical tool for researchers, employers, and those who design and provide training. We envisage the HBCFF maturing and adapting as evidence that identifies the essential elements required for the effective delivery of behaviour change interventions emerges.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jul 20, 2020
Publication Date 2021-06
Deposit Date Feb 13, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 13, 2023
Journal International Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Print ISSN 1070-5503
Electronic ISSN 1532-7558
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 3
Pages 308-317
Keywords Professional competency, Behaviour change interventions, BCTs, Behaviour change techniques, Training


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