Iterative four-phase development of a theory-based digital behaviour change intervention to reduce occupational sedentary behaviour

Aoife Stephenson*, Matias Garcia-Constantino, Suzanne M. McDonough, Marie H. Murphy, Chris D. Nugent, Jacqueline L. Mair

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)


As high amounts of occupational sitting have been associated with negative health consequences, designing workplace interventions to reduce sedentary behaviour (SB) is of public health interest. Digital technology may serve as a cost-effective and scalable platform to deliver such an intervention. This study describes the iterative development of a theory-based, digital behaviour change intervention to reduce occupational SB.

The behaviour change wheel and The Behaviour Change Technique Taxonomy were used to guide the intervention design process and form a basis for selecting the intervention components. The development process consisted of four phases: phase 1 – preliminary research, phase 2 – consensus workshops, phase 3 – white boarding and phase 4 – usability testing.

The process led to the development and refinement of a smartphone application – Worktivity. The core component was self-monitoring and feedback of SB at work, complemented by additional features focusing on goal setting, prompts and reminders to break up prolonged periods of sitting, and educational facts and tips. Key features of the app included simple data entry and personalisation based on each individual’s self-reported sitting time. Results from the ‘think-aloud’ interviews (n=5) suggest Worktivity was well accepted and that users were positive about its features.

This study led to the development of Worktivity, a theory-based and user-informed mobile app intervention to reduce occupational SB. It is the first app of its kind developed with the primary aim of reducing occupational SB using digital self-monitoring. This paper provides a template to guide others in the development and evaluation of technology-supported behaviour change interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalDigital Health
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2020


  • Behaviour change theory
  • Health technology
  • Sedentary behaviour
  • Office work


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