What Competences Are Required to Deliver Person-Person Behaviour Change Interventions: Development of a Health Behaviour Change Competency Framework

Diane Dixon* (Corresponding Author), Marie Johnston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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The competence of the person delivering person-to-person behaviour change interventions may influence the effectiveness of the intervention. However, we lack a framework for describing the range of competences involved. The objective of the current work was to develop a competency framework for health behaviour change interventions.

A preliminary framework was developed by two judges rating the relevance of items in the competency framework for cognitive behaviour therapies; adding relevant items from reviews and other competency frameworks; and obtaining feedback from potential users on a draft framework. The Health Behaviour Change Competency Framework (HBCCF) was used to analyse the competency content of smoking cessation manuals.

Judges identified 194 competency items as relevant, which were organised into two domains: foundation (12 competency topics comprising 56 competencies) and behaviour change (12 topics, 54 competencies); several of the 54 and 56 competencies were composed of sub-competencies (84 subcompetencies in total). Smoking cessation manuals included 14 competency topics from the foundation and behaviour change competency domains.

The HBCCF provides a structured method for assessing and reporting competency to deliver behaviour change interventions. It can be applied to assess a practitioner’s competency and training needs and to identify the competencies needed for a particular intervention. To date, it has been used in self-assessments and in developing training programmes. We propose the HBCCF as a practical tool for researchers, employers, and those who design and provide training. We envisage the HBCFF maturing and adapting as evidence that identifies the essential elements required for the effective delivery of behaviour change interventions emerges..
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-317
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
Early online date20 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Open Access via Springer Compact Agreement.

Both authors were on part-time secondment to the Health Directorate of the Scottish Government. The secondment was funded by the Health Directorates and the British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology.


  • Professional competency
  • Behaviour change interventions
  • BCTs
  • Behaviour change techniques
  • Training


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