Moving from theory to practice and back in social and health psychology

Susan Michie*, Robert West, Bonnie Spring

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Progressive advancement of interventions in health psychology requires improvements in underlying theory. The theoretical advances described in this special issue offer a number of possibilities for intervention development. These include advances in understanding the role of cognitive biases, priming effects, effective planning, the role of specific affective states, and the influence of attachment style on response to interventions. For these advances to translate into progressive improvements in interventions and realized gains in public health, we propose that the theories should: (a) be explicitly linked to the major theories from which they draw; (b) reflect the context sensitivity and dynamic nature of the intervention target; (c) show convincing evidence of improved effectiveness of interventions they spawn according to rigorous criteria; and (d) address the full translation process, including implementation by health care providers and engagement by the target population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-585
Number of pages5
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2013


  • Implementation
  • Interventions
  • Theory
  • Translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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