SOBC 101: Measuring the Mechanisms of Behavior Change

The United States spent $9,892 per capita on health care in 2016, yet it has some of the worst health care outcomes of any high-income nation in the world. Although many chronic diseases and other deadly conditions could be prevented through both public policy and personal behavior, more work is needed to identify interventions that can effectively lower behavioral risk factors such as lack of exercise, overeating, and substance misuse.

 

“Behaviors are among the most important factors that help determine whether people—our patients, our friends—will live a long and healthy life, but few interventions work really well to lead to long-lasting behavior change,” said APS Fellow Michael W. Otto (Boston University).

 

Otto spoke with Jeffrey L. Birk (Columbia University Irving Medical Center), alongside APS Director of Government Relations Andy DeSoto, as part of SOBC 101: The Science of Behavior Change for Psychological Scientists, a webinar recorded February 3.

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Celebrating successes and next steps for the Science of Behavior Change Program

We all know first-hand how tough it can be to adopt and maintain healthy behaviors, even though we know that poor health behaviors account for a good portion of the disease burden in the United States.

 

In response to this challenge, NIH launched the Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) Common Fund Program in 2009. The program was established with two major long-term goals: 1) to promote a systematic approach to discovering the mechanisms underlying successful behavior change, and 2) to provide blueprints for developing behavior interventions that could reliably improve health outcomes.

 

Over the past 10 years, under the leadership of co-chairs Dr. Richard J. Hodes, director, NIA; and Dr. Patricia Grady, former director, National Institute of Nursing Research, SOBC has hosted several scientific workshops and annual meetings of investigators and supported 48 awards and administrative supplements. You can learn more about the work of SOBC’s network of researchers in special issues of Behavioural Research and Therapy (February 2018), Health Psychology Review (February 2020), and Health Psychology (September 2020).

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Special Issue: The Science of Behavior Change: Implementing the Experimental Medicine Approach

A pioneering collaboration between 10 prestigious institutions across the nation has released a special issue of Health Psychology that proposes groundbreaking approaches to uncover basic behavioral processes that influence behavior change. This collaboration involves researchers at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research of Northwell Health, Columbia University, Medical University of South Carolina, Oregon Health & Science University, SUNY Downstate Health University, Yale University, University of California Berkeley, University of Connecticut, Harvard University, and Boston University.

 

In this special issue, the authors unveil nearly a dozen scientific tests of basic behavioral processes and two commentaries covering diverse scientific areas in behavior change interventions. They describe how investigative teams are using the experimental method to advance our understanding of what drives human behavior, such as medication adherence, mindfulness training, and episodic future thinking. Importantly, each scientific team describes how they have adhered to Open Science processes in the conceptualization and implementation of their project. With this new knowledge, researchers can move beyond a trial-and-error approach to develop powerful evidence-based tools that improve behavior change interventions across a wide range of human behavior.

 

Research Opportunity: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Availability of Emergency Competitive Revisions for Research on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)


Notice Number: NOT-RM-20-015

Release Date: April 27, 2020
First Available Due Date: April 15, 2020
Expiration Date: June 20, 2020

Issued by Office of Strategic Coordination (Common Fund)

Purpose

The Office of Strategic Coordination (OSC), which manages the Common Fund, is issuing this Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) to stimulate innovative research on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease it causes, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). OSC seeks new, innovative perspectives and approaches to the prevention of, preparation for, or response to coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, domestically or internationally. The funding for this supplement is provided from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, 2020.

OSC is therefore offering Emergency Competitive Revisions to active Common Fund grants and cooperative agreements addressing the research objectives described below.

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Can Mindfulness Evolve From Wellness Pursuit to Medical Treatment? | New York Times Magazine

Roughly a third of all adults in the United States have high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. It’s a condition that can be largely controlled with diet, exercise and medication, yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that only about half of the 75 million people who have high blood pressure manage to keep it in check. In November, Eric Loucks, director of the Mindfulness Center at the Brown University School of Public Health, and colleagues published a study in Plos One, a science journal, that put forward a possible solution: an eight-week mindfulness-based program.

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