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Transl Behav Med. 2014 Sep;4(3):252-9. doi: 10.1007/s13142-013-0247-7.

Moving beyond the treatment package approach to developing behavioral interventions: addressing questions that arose during an application of the Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST).

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University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 437 HHP Building, Walker Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27402 USA.
Prevention Strategies, LLC, Greensboro, NC USA.
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA USA.


Given current pressures to increase the public health contributions of behavioral interventions, intervention scientists may wish to consider moving beyond the classical treatment package approach that focuses primarily on achieving statistical significance. They may wish also to focus on goals directly related to optimizing public health impact. The Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST) is an innovative methodological framework that draws on engineering principles to achieve more potent behavioral interventions. MOST is increasingly being adopted by intervention scientists seeking a systematic framework to engineer an optimized intervention. As with any innovation, there are challenges that arise with early adoption. This article describes the solutions to several critical questions that we addressed during the first-ever iterative application of MOST. Specifically, we describe how we have applied MOST to optimize an online program (myPlaybook) for the prevention of substance use among college student-athletes. Our application of MOST can serve as a blueprint for other intervention scientists who wish to design optimized behavioral interventions. We believe using MOST is feasible and has the potential to dramatically improve program effectiveness thereby advancing the public health impact of behavioral interventions.


Experimental design; Intervention development; Multiphase Optimization Strategy; Substance use prevention

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