The development of a theoretical framework for a complex lifestyle intervention

Maggie Lawrence, Susan Kerr, Rosemary Whyte, Hazel Watson

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


In this qualitative paper the authors will discuss the complex theoretical underpinning for a program of research on the development, delivery and evaluation of a family-centered intervention designed to address secondary prevention/lifestyle issues in a Scottish stroke population. Acknowledging the complexity associated with lifestyle behavior/behavior change a psychological approach, the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) was selected to inform the work. TPB describes and explains behavior/behavior change as determined by intentions to engage/not to engage in specific behaviors; e.g., smoking. Intentions are informed by attitudes, motivation, and perceived behavioral control, factors embedded in/influenced by intersubjective relationships within the family. In recognition of the importance of the family construct, the Calgary Family Assessment/ Intervention model (CFAM/CFIM) was selected to complement the TPB. CFAM/CFIM is a family systems theory centered on the family’s reciprocal relationships, including those with external agencies; e.g., health care practitioners. CFAM/CFIM enables the family to understand how it “works” by encouraging introspection and collaboration. It enables practitioners to take into account the uniqueness of families, their processes, and their needs, and facilitates an understanding of the process of an intervention rather than simply its outcomes. These foci on reciprocity, introspection, and uniqueness are all elements of the phenomenological concept of intersubjectivity, the philosophical approach that unifies the theoretical underpinnings of the research. Development of this complex theoretical framework was essential to facilitate an understanding of the mechanisms that influence family-centered lifestyle behavior change. It will influence development, delivery and evaluation of the research throughout the five stages of the overarching Complex Interventions framework.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • lifestyle behavior
  • theory of planned behaviour
  • calgary family ssessment/intervention model
  • stroke population


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