Prof. Robert AC Ruiter, Ph.D
Maastricht University, Netherland
Topic: Planned behavior change and the necessity to use theory and empirical evidence
Rob Ruiter is Professor of Applied Social Psychology and is the Vice-dean of Education at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience at Maastricht University. Rob received his Master's degree in Health Sciences in 1995 and his Ph.D. degree in the study of the effects of fear-arousing persuasive communications in 2000, both at Maastricht University. His core research is on the design and testing of persuasive health messages, with a special interest in processes of attention, information processing, and attitude and behavior change. Besides his experimental research work on persuasion, Rob is strongly involved in the systematic development, implementation and evaluation of behavior change programs in the domains of health and safety in low-, middle- and high-income countries. In my talk, I would like to point out the need for a systematic and theory- and evidence-based approach to the design of behavior change programs, as put forward by Intervention Mapping, which I will briefly introduce. In particular, I would like to stress the emphasis Intervention Mapping puts on using theory in all steps of intervention development, and to use theory correctly. I will demonstrate this by referring to the worldwide discussion on the use of graphic health warnings and other field examples from the domain of health promotion and behavior change interventions.