Scaffolding the Mastery of Healthy Behaviors with Fittle+ Systems

Evidence-Based Interventions and Theory


We present a series of mHealth applications and studies pursued as part of the Fittle+ project. This program of research has the dual aims of (1) bringing scalable evidence-based behavior-change interventions to mHealth and evaluating them and (2) developing theoretically based predictive models to better understand the dynamics of the impact of these interventions on achieving behavior-change goals. Our approach in the Fittle+ systems rests on the idea that to master the complex fabric of a new healthy lifestyle, one must weave together a new set of healthy habits that over-ride the old unhealthy habits. To achieve these aims, we have developed a series of mHealth platforms that provide scaffolding interventions: Behavior-change techniques and associated mHealth interactions (e.g., SMS reminders; chatbot dialogs; user interface functionality; etc.) that provide additional support to the acquisition and maintenance of healthy habits. We present experimental evidence collected so far for statistically significant improvements in behavior change in eating, exercise, and physical activity for the following scaffolding interventions: guided mastery, teaming, self-affirmation, and implementation intentions. We also present predictive computational ACT-R models of daily individual behavior goal success for data collected in guided mastery and implementation intention studies that address goal striving and habit formation mechanisms.

HCI 2018

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