A Person x Intervention Strategy Approach to Understanding Health Behavior

Alexander J. Rothman and Austin S. Baldwin

in The Oxford Handbook of Personality and Social Psychology

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398991
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

A Person x Intervention Strategy Approach to Understanding Health Behavior


In this chapter, we suggest that an integration of perspectives from personality and social psychology (i.e., a person x intervention strategy framework) provides a rich context in which to explore more precise specifications of the mediators and moderators that guide health behavior and decision-making. To that end, we first discuss how conceptualizations of moderated mediation and mediated moderation can enrich theory and serve to enumerate specific principles to guide the development and dissemination of more effective health behavior interventions. Second, we review research from four different literatures that rely on a similar person x intervention strategy framework—that is, the effectiveness of an intervention strategy depends on the degree to which it matches features of the target person—to examine evidence for the processes that mediate the effect of this moderated intervention approach. Finally, we describe how a more systematic analysis of the interplay between mediating and moderating processes can stimulate advances in theory, intervention research, and practice of health behavior.

Keywords: health behavior; intervention matching; mediation; moderation

Article.  17741 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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