Using Intervention Mapping and Behavior Change Techniques to Develop a Digital Intervention for Self-Management in Stroke: Development Study

Alex W.K. Wong, Mandy W.M. Fong, Elizabeth G.S. Munsell, Christopher L. Metts, Sunghoon I. Lee, Ginger E. Nicol, Olivia DePaul, Stephanie E. Tomazin, Katherine J. Kaufman, David C. Mohr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Digital therapeutics, such as interventions provided via smartphones or the internet, have been proposed as promising solutions to support self-management in persons with chronic conditions. However, the evidence supporting self-management interventions through technology in stroke is scarce, and the intervention development processes are often not well described, creating challenges in explaining why and how the intervention would work. Objective: This study describes a specific use case of using intervention mapping (IM) and the taxonomy of behavior change techniques (BCTs) in designing a digital intervention to manage chronic symptoms and support daily life participation in people after stroke. IM is an implementation science framework used to bridge the gap between theories and practice to ensure that the intervention can be implemented in real-world settings. The taxonomy of BCTs consists of a set of active ingredients designed to change self-management behaviors. Methods: We used the first 4 steps of the IM process to develop a technology-supported self-management intervention, interactive Self-Management Augmented by Rehabilitation Technologies (iSMART), adapted from a face-to-face stroke-focused psychoeducation program. Planning group members were involved in adapting the intervention. They also completed 3 implementation measures to assess the acceptability, appropriateness, and feasibility of iSMART. Results: In step 1, we completed a needs assessment consisting of assembling a planning group to codevelop the intervention, conducting telephone surveys of people after stroke (n=125) to identify service needs, and performing a systematic review of randomized controlled trials to examine evidence of the effectiveness of digital self-management interventions to improve patient outcomes. We identified activity scheduling, symptom management, stroke prevention, access to care resources, and cognitive enhancement training as key service needs after a stroke. The review suggested that digital self-management interventions, especially those using cognitive behavioral theory, effectively reduce depression, anxiety, and fatigue and enhance self-efficacy in neurological disorders. Step 2 identified key determinants, objectives, and strategies for self-management in iSMART, including knowledge, behavioral regulation, skills, self-efficacy, motivation, negative and positive affect, and social and environmental support. In step 3, we generated the intervention components underpinned by appropriate BCTs. In step 4, we developed iSMART with the planning group members. Especially, iSMART simplified the original psychoeducation program and added 2 new components: SMS text messaging and behavioral coaching, intending to increase the uptake by people after stroke. iSMART was found to be acceptable (mean score 4.63, SD 0.38 out of 5), appropriate (mean score 4.63, SD 0.38 out of 5), and feasible (mean score 4.58, SD 0.34 out of 5). Conclusions: We describe a detailed example of using IM and the taxonomy of BCTs for designing and developing a digital intervention to support people after stroke in managing chronic symptoms and maintaining active participation in daily life.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere45099
JournalJMIR Human Factors
StatePublished - 2023


  • SMS text messaging
  • behavior change
  • digital intervention
  • intervention mapping
  • mobile health
  • mobile phone
  • rehabilitation
  • self-management
  • stroke
  • technology


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