Behaviour Change Programs – do they work?

When trying to work out how effective Behaviour Change Programs or Interventions really are and if they actually work, it’s important to understand what behaviour change is. How behaviours can be altered has become an increased and important area for research and action. It merges both sociology and psychology.

There are 3 main components of a Behaviour Change Program/Intervention.

  • Models of Behaviour which look into identifying any underlying factors that may influence behaviours.
  • Theories of Change which seek to explain how behaviours may be altered over time.
  • Frameworks for Change which provide a practical approach when designing and implementing programs/interventions built around models and theories.

Behaviour Change Programs utilise various techniques to help change not only an individual’s behaviour, but that of communities and entire populations too.

Effective Intervention

Behaviour change programs are most effective when used as part of an integrated strategy; working in conjunction with policy and legislation that targets behaviour on a population level, not just on an individual one.

Whilst Behaviour Change Programs target an individual, the behaviour that is focused on is one that affects themselves AND others. For example, Behaviour Change Programs have been implemented for those who have lost their licence due to drink/drug driving and also for perpetrators of domestic violence. These are issues that need to be targeted at both individuals and populations because real change can’t and won’t happen solely based on individuals – real change has to happen at a social and political level too. It is the combination of individual, social and political change that will eventually set a precedent for what is and isn’t socially acceptable behaviour.

Behaviour change techniques (BCT’s) are also often used for health issues. These targeted interventions can include marketing activities that promote active health protective behaviour – such as undertaking frequent screenings for cancer, or to prevent risky health behaviour – eg. quit smoking.

Length of the program.

One study that took place over 10 years determined a 25% decrease in the risk of recidivism in those who participated in 2 hour length programs over those participating in a full day program.

Behaviour Change Programs at Arrow Health.

Did you know that Arrow Health offers the VicRoads Behaviour Change Program.
If someone has lost their licence due to drink/drug driving, this program is a requirement to get their licence back.