Acyclic Behavior Change Diagrams

Gjalt-Jorn Peters

2019-01-16

Acyclic Behavior Change Diagrams (ABCDs) are diagrams that illustrate the logic model (also known as ‘theory of change’) underlying any intervention, treatment, or campaign aiming to change some aspect of people’s minds and/or behaviors. Specifically, the ABCD shows the assumed causal and structural assumptions, thereby showing what is assumed to cause what (e.g. which elements of the intervention are assumed to influence which aspects of the target population’s psychology?) and what is assumed to consist of what (e.g. which determinants are assumed to contain which specific aspects of the target population’s psychology?).

Such ABCDs are generated from a uniform, machine readable, format: a table, for example as stored in a comma separated values (CSV) file. In it most extensive form, the table has the following columns:

ABCDs can be generated using the [behaviorchange::abcd()] function in the behaviorchange R package.

They can also be generated from the online app that runs at https://a-bc.eu/apps/abcd.

Examples

This are two example ABCDs. The ABCD tables are included in the behaviorchange package, and the identical tables are available on Google Sheets.

A simple but complete ABCD

behaviorchange::abcd(behaviorchange::abcd_specs_complete);
A simple but complete ABCD

A simple but complete ABCD

The ABCD table for this ABCD is available at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1U1j-VoiK3WmfveJ7VpUMY_H9WNXDh85a8jKbM67AQSI/edit#gid=0.

An ABCD with only one target behavior and no specified conditions

behaviorchange::abcd(behaviorchange::abcd_specs_single_po_without_conditions);
An ABCD with only one target behavior and no specified conditions

An ABCD with only one target behavior and no specified conditions

The ABCD table for this ABCD is available at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1o2w6Yt0Wyy8xVGTvwb_NRcba4B79pbnlYG3wh-qNhek/edit#gid=0.

References

Crutzen, R., & Peters, G.-J. Y. (2018). Evolutionary learning processes as the foundation for behaviour change. Health Psychology Review, 12(1), 43–57. https://doi.org/10.1080/17437199.2017.1362569

Peters, G.-J. Y., & Crutzen, R. (2017). Pragmatic nihilism: how a Theory of Nothing can help health psychology progress. Health Psychology Review, 11(2). https://doi.org/10.1080/17437199.2017.1284015

Kok, G. (2014). A practical guide to effective behavior change: How to apply theory- and evidence-based behavior change methods in an intervention. European Health Psychologist, 16(5), 156–170. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/r78wh

Kok, G., Gottlieb, N. H., Peters, G.-J. Y., Mullen, P. D., Parcel, G. S., Ruiter, R. A. C., Fernández, M E., Markham, C., & Bartholomew, L. K. (2016). A taxonomy of behavior change methods: an Intervention Mapping approach. Health Psychology Review, 10(3), 297–312. https://doi.org/10.1080/17437199.2015.1077155