Intervention Mapping

Intervention mapping (IM) is a systematic process that uses behavioural theory and research evidence to develop specific learning and change objectives and their determinants. It consists of six steps:

  1. Needs assessment, including identification of problem behaviours, desired outcomes, and associated environmental conditions.
  2. Mapping programme objectives and determinants.
  3. Selecting techniques and strategies to modify determinants.
  4. Producing intervention.
  5. Planning for adoption and implementation.
  6. Creating evaluation plans.

Using the first four steps of the protocol Stuart Logan, Director of PennCLAHRC, and his team planned a school-based intervention to help prevent childhood obesity – the Healthy Lifestyles Programme (HeLP) – focussed on reducing sweetened soft drink consumption, increasing proportion of healthy snacks eaten, and reducing screen-based activities.[1] Although the process was time-consuming, the authors found that IM was a useful tool for developing a feasible, theory-based intervention, and that it allowed a deeper understanding of the intervention process, improving their ability to design and deliver an effective intervention. It also ensured that the behaviour change techniques and delivery methods used linked directly to the performance objectives and their associated determinants, which could then provide a clear framework for any future process analysis.

— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director


  1. Lloyd JJ, Logan S, Greaves CJ, Wyatt KM. Evidence, theory and context – using intervention mapping to develop a school-based intervention to prevent obesity in children. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2011; 8. 73

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