Research Topic

Theory- and Evidence-Based Health Promotion Program Planning; Intervention Mapping

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One difficulty which health promotion program planners may encounter is knowing exactly how to create health promotion or education programs that are based on theory, empirical findings from the literature, and data collected from a population. Existing literature, appropriate theories, and additional ...

One difficulty which health promotion program planners may encounter is knowing exactly how to create health promotion or education programs that are based on theory, empirical findings from the literature, and data collected from a population. Existing literature, appropriate theories, and additional research data are basic tools for any health educator, but often it is unclear how and where these tools should be used in program planning. Correctly applying theories seems to be especially challenging. In this Research Topic we will give an overview of current research applying the Intervention Mapping (IM) protocol for theory- and evidence-based health promotion program planning. The purpose of IM is to provide health promotion program planners with a framework for effective decision making at each step in intervention development, implementation, and evaluation. IM is a planning approach that is based on using theory and evidence as foundations for decision making and takes an ecological approach to assessing and intervening in health problems and engendering community participation. Compared to other planning protocols, IM emphasizes the correct application of theories in linking social-cognitive determinants of behavior to methods for behavior change, and in linking methods for behavior change to practical applications that operationalize these methods.

IM provides a vocabulary for needs assessment, program planning, procedures for planning activities, and technical assistance by identifying theory-based determinants and matching them with appropriate methods for change. Intervention Mapping (IM) describes the iterative path from problem identification to problem solution in six steps. Each step of IM comprises several tasks each of which integrates theory and evidence. The completion of the tasks within a step creates a product that is the guide for the subsequent step. The completion of all of the steps serves as a blueprint for designing, implementing, and evaluating a health promotion intervention. The six steps and related tasks of the IM process are: (1) develop a logic model of the problem based on a needs assessment; (2) state program outcomes and objectives—a logic model for change; (3) develop the program plan, including scope, sequence, behavior change methods, and practical applications; (4) produce the intervention, including program materials and messages; (5) plan program use, including adoption, implementation, and maintenance; (6) develop an evaluation plan including a process and effect evaluation.

The purpose of this Research Topic is to gather articles describing the IM process or parts of that process, with the intent that the collective body of work will facilitate analysis and discussion of health promotion program planning among researchers, practitioners and students of health promotion, health education, health psychology, behavioral medicine, applied social psychology, and other relevant disciplines. The E-Book will also be useful as an additional tool for teaching IM at the graduate level alongside the IM textbook. All topics related to the promotion of health are acceptable.

Articles to be welcomed include:
- Descriptions of a full IM process developing a health promotion program, including all steps
- Original research on one or more of the IM steps of developing, implementing & evaluating a program
- Reviews on application of theories in:
- Linking social-cognitive determinants of behavior to behavior change methods and/or
- Linking behavior change methods to practical applications of these methods.
- Perspectives & Opinion papers on the use of theory in health promotion program planning
- Using IM to develop technology and media- based health promotion interventions
- Development of evaluation tools of health promotion programs based on IM
- Using IM for adaptation of evidence-based interventions.
- Using IM for planning implementation strategies

We especially encourage contributions that focus on a socio-ecological approach to health promotion program planning.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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