• Health psychology, behavioural science, and Covid-19 disease prevention

      Chater, Angel M.; Whittaker, Ellie; Lewis, Lesley; Arden, Madelynne A.; Byrne-Davis, Lucie; Chadwick, Paul; Drury, John; Epton, Tracy; Hart, Jo; Kamal, Atiya; et al. (British Psychological Society, 2021-02-02)
      ‘This is a pre-publication version of the following article: [Chater A, Whittaker E, Lewis L, Arden MA, Byrne-Davis L, Chadwick P, Drury J, Epton T, Hart J, Kamal A, McBride E, O'Connor D, Shorter G, Swanson V, Armitage C (2021) 'Health psychology, behavioural science, and Covid-19 disease prevention', Health Psychology Update, (in press).]’ In March 2020 the president of the British Psychological Society (BPS) reached out to member networks to join forces on a BPS COVID-19 co-ordinating group. Members of this group were tasked to lead different work-streams highlighting psychology’s role during the pandemic. One work-stream focused on ‘Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention’. It was clear that understanding behaviour and anticipating public responses to changes in policies, public messaging and guidelines would be key to improving health outcomes. This work-stream focused on developing clear guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and identifying psychological evidence to promote best practice in the design of sustainable behavioural interventions. This includes both immediate infection control behaviours aimed at reducing virus transmission, such as hand washing, physical-distancing and self-isolation, and behaviours that may have been influenced during the pandemic, such as physical activity, eating behaviour, substance use and healthcare use, which will have far reaching impacts on future health. This article provides an overview of the core guidance and practical examples of its application in a public health setting.
    • Template for Rapid Iterative Consensus of Experts (TRICE)

      Chater, Angel M.; Shorter, Gillian; Swanson, Vivien; Kamal, Atiya; Epton, Tracy; Arden, Madelynne A.; Hart, Jo; Byrne-Davis, Lucie; Drury, John; Whittaker, Ellie; et al. (MDPI, 2021-09-29)
      Background: Public health emergencies require rapid responses from experts. Differing viewpoints are common in science, however, “mixed messaging” of varied perspectives can undermine credibility of experts; reduce trust in guidance; and act as a barrier to changing public health behaviours. Collation of a unified voice for effective knowledge creation and translation can be challenging. This work aimed to create a method for rapid psychologically-informed expert guidance during the COVID-19 response. Method: TRICE (Template for Rapid Iterative Consensus of Experts) brings structure, peer-review and consensus to the rapid generation of expert advice. It was developed and trialled with 15 core members of the British Psychological Society COVID-19 Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention Taskforce. Results: Using TRICE; we have produced 18 peer-reviewed COVID-19 guidance documents; based on rapid systematic reviews; co-created by experts in behavioural science and public health; taking 4–156 days to produce; with approximately 18 experts and a median of 7 drafts per output. We provide worked-examples and key considerations; including a shared ethos and theoretical/methodological framework; in this case; the Behaviour Change Wheel and COM-B. Conclusion: TRICE extends existing consensus methodologies and has supported public health collaboration; co-creation of guidance and translation of behavioural science to practice through explicit processes in generating expert advice for public health emergencies.
    • What influences people’s responses to public health messages for managing risks and preventing infectious diseases? a rapid systematic review of the evidence and recommendations

      Ghio, Daniela; Lawes-Wickwar, Sadie; Tang, Mei Yee; Epton, Tracy; Howlett, Neil; Jenkinson, Elizabeth; Stanescu, Sabina; Westbrook, Juliette; Kassianos, Angelos P.; Watson, Daniella; et al. (BMJ, 2021-10-05)
      Background Individual behaviour changes, such as hand hygiene and physical distancing, are required on a population scale to reduce transmission of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. However, little is known about effective methods of communicating risk reducing information, and how populations might respond. Objective To synthesise evidence relating to what: a) characterises effective public health messages for managing risk and preventing infectious disease, b) influences people’s responses to messages. Design A rapid systematic review was conducted. Protocol is published on Prospero CRD42020188704. Data sources Electronic databases were searched: Ovid Medline, Ovid PsycINFO and Healthevidence.org, and grey literature (PsyarXiv, OSF Preprints) up to May 2020. Study selection All study designs were included that: (a) evaluated public health messaging interventions targeted at adults, (b) concerned a communicable disease spread via primary route of transmission of respiratory and/or touch. Outcomes included preventative behaviours, perceptions/awareness and intentions. Non-English language papers were excluded. Synthesis Due to high heterogeneity studies were synthesised narratively focusing on determinants of intentions in the absence of measured adherence/preventative behaviours. Themes were developed independently by two researchers and discussed within team to reach consensus. Recommendations were translated from narrative synthesis to provide evidence-based methods in providing effective messaging. Results Sixty-eight eligible papers were identified. Characteristics of effective messaging include delivery by credible sources, community engagement, increasing awareness/knowledge, mapping to stage of epidemic/pandemic. To influence intent effectively, public health messages need to be acceptable, increase understanding/perceptions of health threat and perceived susceptibility. Discussion There are four key recommendations: (1) engage communities in development of messaging, (2) address uncertainty immediately and with transparency, (3) focus on unifying messages from sources, and (4) frame messages aimed at increasing understanding, social responsibility and personal control. Embedding principles of behavioural science into public health messaging is an important step towards more effective health-risk communication during epidemics/pandemics.