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Introduction to the Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST) for Building more Effective Behavioral Interventions

14:00 - 17:00, Orchid D, Terrace Level

Linda Collins (1)

(1): Pennsylvania State University, United States


The majority of behavioral interventions in use today have been evaluated as a treatment package using a two-group randomized controlled trial (RCT). This approach is an excellent way to determine whether an intervention is effective. However, the treatment package approach is less helpful at providing empirical information that can be used to improve the intervention’s effectiveness. In this seminar an innovative methodological framework for building more effective behavioral interventions, the Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST), will be presented.   MOST is based on ideas inspired by engineering methods, which stress careful management of research resources and ongoing improvement of products. MOST includes a series of steps devoted to establishing the conceptual foundation of an intervention; gathering empirical information on individual intervention components via experiments designed for efficiency and conservation of research resources; making decisions based on the results of the experiments to develop the intervention; and evaluating the intervention via a RCT. Using MOST it is possible to engineer an intervention targeting a particular effect size, level of cost-effectiveness, or any other criterion. This seminar will provide an introduction to MOST. Ongoing intervention development studies using the MOST approach will be used as illustrative examples. A substantial amount of time will be devoted to experimental design, which is an important tool in MOST. In particular, factorial experiments and fractional factorial experiments will be discussed. Time will be reserved for open discussion of how the concepts presented can be applied in the research of seminar attendees.