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How do we harness adolescent values in designing health behaviour change interventions? A qualitative study

How do we harness adolescent values in designing health behaviour change interventions? A qualitative study
How do we harness adolescent values in designing health behaviour change interventions? A qualitative study
Objectives: adolescent health behaviours do not support optimal development. Adolescents are reportedly difficult to engage in health behaviour improvement initiatives. Little is known about what adolescents value in relation to diet and physical activity or how best to target these in health interventions. This study explored adolescents’ values in relation to diet and physical activity and how these values can inform health intervention design.

Design: qualitative semi‐structured interviews explored adolescents’ lives, what they thought about diet and physical activity and what might support them to improve their health behaviours.

Methods: a total of 13 group interviews were conducted with 54 adolescents aged 13–14 years, of whom 49% were girls and 95% identified as White British. Participants were recruited from a non‐selective secondary school in a large southern UK city. Inductive thematic analysis was used to identify key adolescent values.

Results: adolescents valued being with their friends, doing what they enjoyed and were good at; being healthy was important to them but only if achievable without compromising other things that are important to them. The need to be healthy was not aligned with adolescents’ basic psychological needs, nor their strongly held priorities and values.

Conclusions: health is not a motivating factor for adolescents; therefore, interventions designed solely to improve health are unlikely to engage them. Instead, interventions that align with the values and priorities specified by adolescents are more likely to be effective in supporting them to eat well and be more active.
adolescence, diet, health behaviour, intervention, physical activity, qualitative methods
1359-107X
1176-1193
Strommer, Sofia
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Shaw, Sarah
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Jenner, Sarah
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Vogel, Christina
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Lawrence, Wendy
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Woods-Townsend, Kathryn
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Farrell, David
d5f8167f-b474-4db8-942f-ca9166aefcf1
Inskip, Hazel
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Baird, Janis
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Morrison, Leanne
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Barker, Mary
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Strommer, Sofia
a025047e-effa-4481-9bf4-48da1668649e
Shaw, Sarah
9629b12a-8ee2-4483-a9ca-6efb4eef74c8
Jenner, Sarah
6de57ea6-89f7-4bed-8e76-bad5ed5957e8
Vogel, Christina
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Lawrence, Wendy
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Woods-Townsend, Kathryn
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Farrell, David
d5f8167f-b474-4db8-942f-ca9166aefcf1
Inskip, Hazel
5fb4470a-9379-49b2-a533-9da8e61058b7
Baird, Janis
f4bf2039-6118-436f-ab69-df8b4d17f824
Morrison, Leanne
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Barker, Mary
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Strommer, Sofia, Shaw, Sarah, Jenner, Sarah, Vogel, Christina, Lawrence, Wendy, Woods-Townsend, Kathryn, Farrell, David, Inskip, Hazel, Baird, Janis, Morrison, Leanne and Barker, Mary (2021) How do we harness adolescent values in designing health behaviour change interventions? A qualitative study. British Journal of Health Psychology, 26 (4), 1176-1193. (doi:10.1111/bjhp.12526).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Objectives: adolescent health behaviours do not support optimal development. Adolescents are reportedly difficult to engage in health behaviour improvement initiatives. Little is known about what adolescents value in relation to diet and physical activity or how best to target these in health interventions. This study explored adolescents’ values in relation to diet and physical activity and how these values can inform health intervention design.

Design: qualitative semi‐structured interviews explored adolescents’ lives, what they thought about diet and physical activity and what might support them to improve their health behaviours.

Methods: a total of 13 group interviews were conducted with 54 adolescents aged 13–14 years, of whom 49% were girls and 95% identified as White British. Participants were recruited from a non‐selective secondary school in a large southern UK city. Inductive thematic analysis was used to identify key adolescent values.

Results: adolescents valued being with their friends, doing what they enjoyed and were good at; being healthy was important to them but only if achievable without compromising other things that are important to them. The need to be healthy was not aligned with adolescents’ basic psychological needs, nor their strongly held priorities and values.

Conclusions: health is not a motivating factor for adolescents; therefore, interventions designed solely to improve health are unlikely to engage them. Instead, interventions that align with the values and priorities specified by adolescents are more likely to be effective in supporting them to eat well and be more active.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 4 May 2021
Published date: 4 May 2021
Additional Information: Funding Information: This research and the authors of this paper are supported by the following funding sources: UK National Institute for Health Research Programme Grants for Applied Research (RP‐PG‐0216‐20004); UK Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12011/4); National Institute for Health Research Southampton Biomedical Research Centre; and Wessex Heartbeat and Public Health England. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the National Health Service, the National Institute for Health Research, and the UK Department of Health and Social Care. We thank Martin Stevens for helping us create the initial data coding frame. We acknowledge Daniel Penn‐Newman and Taylor Morris who helped us collect data, as well as Lyall Campbell, Ross Anderson, Patsy Coakley, Judit Varkonyi‐Sepp, Donna Lovelock, and Lisa Bagust for their contributions to EACH‐B. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Authors. British Journal of Health Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
Keywords: adolescence, diet, health behaviour, intervention, physical activity, qualitative methods

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 449158
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/449158
ISSN: 1359-107X
PURE UUID: 54924957-4530-4a1d-b87b-a33caa7aec64
ORCID for Sarah Shaw: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2206-6858
ORCID for Christina Vogel: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3897-3786
ORCID for Wendy Lawrence: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1264-0438
ORCID for Kathryn Woods-Townsend: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3376-6988
ORCID for Hazel Inskip: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8897-1749
ORCID for Janis Baird: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4039-4361
ORCID for Leanne Morrison: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9961-551X
ORCID for Mary Barker: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2976-0217

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 18 May 2021 16:32
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 03:02

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Contributors

Author: Sofia Strommer
Author: Sarah Shaw ORCID iD
Author: Sarah Jenner
Author: Christina Vogel ORCID iD
Author: Wendy Lawrence ORCID iD
Author: David Farrell
Author: Hazel Inskip ORCID iD
Author: Janis Baird ORCID iD
Author: Leanne Morrison ORCID iD
Author: Mary Barker ORCID iD

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