MAP: a mnemonic for mapping BCTs to three routes to behaviour change

Diane Dixon* (Corresponding Author), Marie Johnston

*Corresponding author for this work

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7 Citations (Scopus)
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Over 90 behaviour change techniques (BCTs) have been specified but there is limited guidance to assist non-specialist practitioners in the choice of which BCTs to select for use with clients. This paper describes the development of MAP, a theory based mnemonic designed to aid practitioners in their use of BCTs. Each BCT is MAPed to one or more of three recognised routes to behaviour change, namely, Motivation development, Action control, and Prompted or cued route.

A cross-sectional online discriminant content validity (DCV) questionnaire.

Fourteen judges participated, decided whether each BCT affects behaviour via each of the three routes, and provided a confidence rating for each judgement. Wilcoxon one-sample tests classified each BCT to a route or combination of routes. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) assessed agreement between judges.

Fifty-eight BCTs were judged to affect behaviour via a single route; 28, 21 and nine BCTs were judged to act via the Motivation, Action or Prompted routes respectively. Judges did not agree on a route for 35 BCTs. Overall ICC (0.89) value was high and did not differ between routes.

There was good agreement on candidate BCTs for interventions designed to operate through Motivation, Action or Prompted/Cued psychological processes. MAP is a mnemonic that can be used by non-specialist practitioners who implement behaviour change with their clients. MAP is not a replacement for sophisticated theory-based organisation of BCTs required for theory testing. Whilst providing practical guidance, further work is necessary to establish effectiveness of BCTs tailored to each route.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1086-1101
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date27 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to extend their thanks to all who participated in the study. Completion of the study was a lengthy process and the time that was freely given by participants is very much appreciated. The authors also thank Tim Warren for all his support during and after their secondment to the Health Directorates. This work was partly funded by the British Psychological Society and the Scottish Government in the form of a funded secondment of the authors into the Health Directorates of the Scottish Government


  • Behaviour change techniques
  • BCTs
  • discriminant content validity
  • stage models
  • motivation
  • action
  • prompts and cues
  • behaviour change techniques


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