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ASM 2016 Pre-Conference Workshops

Pre-Conference Workshops

Wednesday 30th November 2016, 14.00-17.00

How do groups promote behaviour change? Identifying change processes and intervention components important for design, delivery and evaluation of group-based interventions.

Aleksandra Borek, Jane Smith, Charles Abraham, Colin Greaves and Mark Tarrant

Many behaviour change interventions are delivered in groups. Group delivery is potentially cost- and time-saving for intervention providers, and can facilitate important inter-personal processes to enhance participants’ behaviour change. There is a vast literature on how group dynamics and inter-personal processes promote individual change, but it is rarely used in designing, delivering or evaluating group-based behaviour change interventions (BCIs).

The proposed workshop builds on an ongoing Mechanisms of Action in Group-based Interventions (MAGI) study that aims to identify change processes in group-based weight-loss interventions and practical strategies for facilitating them. The workshop will aim to improve participants’ knowledge of key group processes, and influence their practice when designing, delivering and evaluating group-based BCIs by presenting practical strategies and important intervention components that may enhance change processes in groups. Initial findings from the MAGI study will be presented, and participants will have the opportunity to try out developing methods for identifying, coding and analysing change processes in group interventions, think about applications to their own area of work, and learn by sharing and discussing their own practices and experiences of working with group-based BCIs. Opportunities for future research and collaborations in this field will also be discussed.

The workshop will involve three parts corresponding to three objectives (see below) focused on:

  • Understanding group dynamics and a framework of change processes in groups (developed in the MAGI study);
  • Identifying change techniques and facilitation methods that can be used in practice to facilitate group change processes (based on analysis of transcripts from group session recordings);
  • Practical implications for designers, practitioners and evaluators.

The workshop will involve a mixture of presentations, small group activities and group discussions.

The workshop will enhance attendants’ understanding of how groups facilitate behaviour change; covering processes that can promote change, and thus should be supported, and processes that may impede change which should be prevented. It is hoped that participants’ greater awareness and understanding of these change mechanisms in groups will lead to improved practice, thereby maximising the potential for groups to support behaviour change.

Utilising Social Networks for Behaviour Change in Complex Interventions

Dr Ruth Hunter, Dr Jen Badham and Shannon Montgomery

We choose our friends, neighbours, and colleagues, and we inherit our relatives and create new extended families. Each of the people to whom we are connected does the same, therefore assembling ourselves into social networks. Evidence demonstrates that our embeddedness in these social networks affect our health and subsequently our ability to change our health behaviours, and that these networks are inherent within our interventions. However, current complex interventions approaches often fail to consider these social networks.

An emerging area in public health research involves designing, implementing and evaluating interventions that take account of these social networks. Social network interventions can be utilised in various aspects, including the targeting, delivery and diffusion of the intervention.

This multidisciplinary workshop focuses specifically on social network interventions – interventions that purposively utilise social networks to generate and/or accelerate individual behaviour change or system level change aimed at influencing health improvement action and, subsequently, the behaviour of those individuals within it.

At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to;

  • Identify what social networks are and why they are important;
  • Describe networks and understand the terminology employed;
  • Consider “real-world” vignettes to explore how social networks can be utilised to change various health behaviours (e.g. physical activity, smoking) in different settings (e.g. schools, workplace, community);
  • Identify the challenges, opportunities and implications of social network methods within their own and future research.

Designing and reporting feasibility/pilot trials of complex interventions

Dr Mark Kelson, Dr Rachel McNamara, Dr Deborah Fitzsimmons, Dr Graham Moore, Dr Jemma Hawkins

The terms ‘pilot’, ‘internal pilot’ and ‘feasibility’ study/trial, are often used inconsistently and interchangeably within the literature and there is currently little guidance as to how to design, evaluate and report pilot/feasibility trials of complex interventions. The proposed workshop will attempt to address this gap.

This workshop will cover various aspects of the design and reporting of feasibility/pilot studies. The workshop will comprise short presentations introducing a topic, followed by interactive group sessions where delegates are given exercises surrounding the issue under discussion. Groups will feedback at the end of the workshop and a summary will be produced.

The following topics will be covered, specifically in relation to pilot/feasibility trials of complex interventions:
(1) Definitions, key design and management considerations
(2) Statistical design and analysis
(3) process evaluation
(4) economic evaluation
(5) Progression criteria

Throughout the workshop interaction between participants will be encouraged and opportunities to share experiences facilitated.

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