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Home > Research > Research Overview > Behavioural Science Group

Behavioural Science Group

The behavioural science group was established in 2001, and is headed by Prof. Stephen Sutton. The group’s work aims to understand the psychological and other determinants of behaviours that are related to the risk and prevention of chronic diseases and to develop more effective and cost-effective interventions to change these behaviours. There is a focus on three main behaviours: smoking cessation; physical activity; and adherence to medication. The approaches that are being investigated include face-to-face interventions in which health professionals have direct personal contact with participants and tailored "distance" interventions delivered via the web and mobile phone text messaging. Interventions are developed informed by the best evidence from systematic reviews, relevant theory and careful formative research with the target population, and evaluated in randomised controlled trials with objective as well as self-report measures of behaviour.

A full list of staff is available here.

Research Interests and Projects

  • Novel approaches to smoking cessation, including trials of a web/text-message based programme for smokers recruited through GPs (iQuit in Practice), a tailored text-message based programme for pregnant women smokers (MiQuit), and use of tailored letters and taster sessions to increase the uptake of the stop-smoking services (start2quit)
  • Development of methods to encourage and help people to be more physically active, including the use of very brief interventions embedded in the NHS Health Check (VBI programme), and a web-based intervention coupled to recording of physical activity through a wrist-worn accelerometer (Get Moving trial)
  • Study of the possible intervention effect of knowing that one’s physical activity is being objectively measured (measurement reactivity study)
  • Development of a method of visually modelling the internal environment of buildings so that the effect on physical activity of making modifications to the environment can be tested inexpensively before moving to field studies (virtual reality project)
  • Study of medication adherence, including evaluation of a nurse-delivered intervention designed to address both intentional and non-intentional non-adherence in Type 2 diabetes (Support and Advice for Medication, SAM trial), the effect on adherence of using electronic medication containers (Trackcaps), and study of prospective memory using laboratory-based methods to identify the kinds of cues that might be most useful in prompting people to take their tablets


A full list of the group’s publications are available here.

PDFs of selected papers and chapters can be downloaded here.

Key publications include:


  • Orrow G, Kinmonth A-L, Sanderson S, Sutton S. Effectiveness of physical activity promotion based in primary care: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ 2012;344:e1389
  • Naughton F, Prevost AT, Gilbert H, Sutton S. Randomised controlled trial evaluation of a tailored leaflet and SMS text message self-help intervention for pregnant smokers (MiQuit). Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2012;14:569-577
  • Mason D, Gilbert H, Sutton S. Effectiveness of web-based tailored smoking cessation advice reports (iQuit): a randomized trial. Addiction 2012;107:2183-90
  • Hardeman W, Michie S, Kinmonth AL, Sutton S on behalf of the ProActive project team. Do increases in physical activity encourage positive beliefs about further change in theProActive cohort? Psychology and Health 2011;26:899-914
  • Jamison J, Sutton S, Gilbert H. Delivering tailored smoking cessation support via mobile phone text messaging: A feasibility and acceptability evaluation of the Quittext program. Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research 2012;17:38-58
  • Hardeman W, Kinmonth AL, Michie S, Sutton S on behalf of the ProActive project team (2011). Theory of Planned Behaviour cognitions do not predict self-reported or objective physical activity levels or change in the ProActive Trial. British Journal of Health Psychology 2011;16:135–150
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 October 2013 14:16