Development of a formal system for representing behaviour-change theories | Nature Human Behaviour
Use of natural language to represent behaviour-change theories has resulted in lack of clarity and consistency, hindering com-parison, integration, development and use. This paper describes development of a formal system for representing behaviour-change theories that aims to improve clarity and consistency. A given theory is represented in terms of (1) its component constructs (for example, ‘self-efficacy’, ‘perceived threat’ or ‘subjective norm’), which are labelled and defined, and (2) rela-tionships between pairs of constructs, which may be causal, structural or semantic. This formalism appears adequate to rep-resent five commonly used theories (health belief model, information–motivation–behavioural skill model, social cognitive theory, theory of planned behaviour and the trans-theoretical model).