Appendix D: gaps in the evidence

Appendix D: gaps in the evidence

The PDG identified a number of gaps in the evidence related to behaviour change interventions and programmes, based on an assessment of the evidence. These gaps are set out below.

  1. Evidence about the cost-effectiveness of behaviour change evaluations is lacking, in particular, in relation to specific sub-groups (for example, 19–30 year olds, low-income groups and particular ethnic and disadvantaged groups).

  2. Evaluations of behaviour change interventions frequently fail to make a satisfactory link to health outcomes. Clear, consistent outcome measures need developing.

  3. Evaluations of interventions based on specific psychological models tend not to relate the outcome measures to the model. As a result, it is difficult to assess the appropriateness of using the model as a means of describing behaviour change.

  4. Few studies explicitly address the comparative effect that behaviour change interventions can have on health inequalities, particularly in relation to cultural differences.

  5. There is a need for more information on the links between knowledge, attitudes and behaviour. Conflation between them should be avoided.

  6. There is a lack of reliable data from which to extrapolate the long-term health outcomes of behaviour change interventions.

The Group made five recommendations for research. These are listed in section 5.