Each measure was tested using a community sample drawn from the participant pool at the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics in Nairobi, Kenya. The total sample consisted of 511 adult residents of Kibera – a large informal urban settlement in Nairobi, located 3 kilometers from the lab. Both women (47%) and men (53%) were included. To be eligible, a prospective participant needed to have signed up for the Busara participant database, be at least 18 years of age, and have access to a phone and an MPesa mobile money account (a widely used mobile payment system provided by the mobile phone operator “Safaricom” through which participants are paid for their participation in the study). In the current sample, the median age was 29 years (range: 18-40); 15.6% were unemployed, 84.4% were employed or self-employed; 66.1% completed secondary level education and 27.8% completed education beyond secondary level; and average income reported was KSH 6918 (approximately $69) per month.



The BRIEF-A assesses impaired executive function (Rabin et al., 2006). Impaired executive function could play a key role in dictating the success of behavior change or engagement in difficult or complex health behaviors. For example, executive function as assessed by task performance has been shown to moderate the link between intending to engage in positive health behaviors (i.e., exercise, adhere to a diet) and actual behavior, such that intentions predicted behavior more strongly for individuals with better executive function (Hall, Fong, Epp, & Elias, 2008). This is illustrated perfectly by one of the items on the scale: “I need to be reminded to start a task even when it’s my own will.” Others have found executive function on the BRIEF-A to be associated with risk behaviors (e.g., hypersexual behavior, suicide attempts) (Reid, Karim, McCrory, & Carpenter, 2010; Saffer & Klonsky, 2016). Intervening to provide additional supports and improve executive function—and the ability to engage in such activities—could be an important target for behavior change.


Text Citation: Rabin, L. A., Roth, R. M., Isquith, P. K., Wishart, H. A., Nutter-Upham, K. E., Pare, N., … Saykin, A. J. (2006) Self- and informant reports of executive function on the BRIEF-A in MCI and olfer adults with cognitive complaints. Clinical Neauropsychology, 21(7), 721-732.

Text Citation: Hall, P. A., Fong, G. T., Epp, L. J., & Elias, L. J. (2008). Executive function moderates the intention-behavior link for physical activity and dietary behavior. Psychology and Health, 23(3), 309-326.

Text Citation: Reid, R. C., Karim, R., McCrory, E., & Carpenter, B. N. (2010). Self-reported differences on measures of executive function and hypersexual behavior in a patient and community sample of men. International Journal of Neuroscience, 120(2), 120-127.

Text Citation: Saffer, B. Y., & Klonsky, E. D. (2016). The relationship of self-reported executive functioning to suicide ideation and attempts: findings from a large US-based online sample. Archives of Suicide Research, 1-18.


This measure has not been measured yet.


This measure has not been influenced yet.


This measure has not been validated yet.

Access Measure

SOBC Validation Process

The Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) program seeks to promote basic research on the initiation, personalization and maintenance of behavior change. By integrating work across disciplines, this effort will lead to an improved understanding of the underlying principles of behavior change. The SOBC program aims to implement a mechanisms-focused, experimental medicine approach to behavior change research and to develop the tools required to implement such an approach. The experimental medicine approach involves: identifying an intervention target, developing measures to permit verification of the target, engaging the target through experimentation or intervention, and testing the degree to which target engagement produces the desired behavior change.

Within the SOBC Measures Repository, researchers have access to measures of mechanistic targets that have been (or are in the processing of being) validated by SOBC Research Network Members and other experts in the field. The SOBC Validation Process includes three important stages of evaluation for each proposed measure: Identification, Measurement, and Influence.

The first stage of validation requires a measure to be Identified within the field; there must be theoretical support for the specific measure of the proposed mechanistic target or potential mechanism of behavior change. This evidence may include references for the proposed measure, or theoretical support for the construct that the proposed measure is intended to assess. The second stage of validation requires demonstration that the level and change in level of the chosen mechanistic target can be Measured with the proposed measure (assay). For example, if the proposed measure is a questionnaire, the score on the measure should indicate the activity of the target process, and it must have strong psychometric properties. The third stage of validation requires demonstration that the measure can be Influenced; there must be evidence that the measured target is malleable and responsive to manipulation. Evidence relating to each stage includes at least one peer-reviewed publication or original data presentation (if no peer-reviewed research is available to support the claim) and is evaluated by SOBC Research Network Members and experts in the field.

Once a measure has gone through these three stages, it will then either be Validated or Not validated according to SOBC Research Network standards. If a measure is Validated, then change in the measured target was reliably associated with Behavior Change. If a measure is Not validated, then change in the measured target was not reliably associated with Behavior Change. Why would we share measures that are not validated? The SOBC Research Network values open, rigorous, and transparent research. Our goal is to make meaningful progress and develop replicable and effective interventions in behavior change science. Therefore, the SOBC sees value in providing other researchers in the field with information regarding measures that work and measures that fall short for specific targets. Further, a measure that is not validated for one target in one population may be validated in another target or population.

Want to learn more? For any questions regarding the SOBC Validation Process or Measures Repository, please email info@scienceofbehaviorchange.org.


Has the mechanism been identified as a potential target for behavior change? This section summarizes theoretical support for the mechanism.


Have the psychometric properties of this measure been assessed? This section includes information such as content validity, internal consistency, and test-retest reliability.


Has a study manipulation led to change in the mechanism? This section addresses evidence that this measure is modifiable by experimental manipulation or clinical intervention.

Not Validated

Has a change in this mechanism been associated with behavior change? This section addresses empirical evidence that causing change in the measure reliably produces subsequent behavior change.