A recent Cochrane Review of RCTs aimed to increase regimen adherence paints a bleak picture of the current state of the field (Nieuwlaat et al., 2014). The authors summarize the results of 182 RCTs, which aimed to improve regimen adherence through various interventions, noting that most interventions produced little improvements in regimen adherence with small magnitudes of effect; additionally, those that worked were expensive interventions that combined many constituent elements, thereby making it difficult to understand the mechanisms through which they took their effect. The goal of the current study, therefore, is to take an experimental medicine-based approach which first identifies candidate targets related to stress and stress resilience - in particular, temporal discounting, self-efficacy, and executive control - which are likely to affect adherence and other health behaviors; develops interventions to affect these targets and assays to verify target engagement; and tests whether the engagement of these targets affects regimen adherence and other health behaviors.
Department of Psychology
Johannes Haushofer is Assistant Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs in the Department of Psychology and the Woodrow Wilson School. His research interests lie at the intersection of neurobiology, behavioral economics, and development economics. His research asks whether poverty has particular psychological and neurobiological consequences, and whether these consequences, in turn, affect economic behavior. To answer these questions, he combines laboratory experiments with randomized controlled trials of development programs such as health insurance and unconditional cash transfers in Kenya and Sierra Leone. In 2011 Johannes started the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics in Nairobi, a research facility for behavioral economics studies with respondents from the Nairobiinformal settlements. Johannes has a BA in Psychology, Physiology and Philosophy from Oxford, a PhD in Neurobiology from Harvard, a PhD in Economics from Zurich, and was most recently a Prize Fellow in Economics at Harvard and the Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT.
Lead Project Scientist
Esopo, K., Mellow, D., Thomas, C., Uckat, H., Abraham, J., Jain, P., ... & Orkin, K. (2017). Measuring self-efficacy, executive function, and temporal discounting in Kenya. Behaviour research and therapy.