Interventions designed to influence people's behaviour ('behavioural interventions') are a fundamental part of daily life, whether in the form of personal advice, support and skills-training from professionals (e.g. educators, doctors) or general information disseminated through the media. However, personal advice and support are very costly, and it is impossible to provide everyone with 24 hour access to personal guidance on managing all their problems. Interactive technology means that the advice can now be specifically 'tailored' to address the particular situation, concerns, beliefs and preferences of each individual, and intensive daily support can be provided for behaviour change in the form of reminders, personalised feedback regarding progress and overcoming obstacles, help with planning, and opportunities for communication with peers.
Currently each intervention is programmed from scratch individually, with the result that the initial development costs are greater for internet-based than for traditionally delivered interventions, and once programmed they cannot easily be modified. This seriously limits the number of interventions that can be developed and evaluated, and acts as a barrier to innovation and enhancement of interventions by researchers.
The aim of this project is to develop, evaluate and disseminate an internet-based set of resources that will allow researchers to flexibly create and modify two fundamental dimensions of behavioural interventions: a) providing tailored advice; b) supporting sustained behaviour. The LifeGuide will increase the number of researchers who can engage in this type of research, opening it up to those with limited funding (e.g. junior researchers and research students). We will test and demonstrate the value of LifeGuide by involving a network of researchers.