Deakin University
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Examining development processes for text messaging interventions to prevent cardiovascular disease: systematic literature review

journal contribution
posted on 2019-03-29, 00:00 authored by Ignacio Ricci-Cabello, Kirsten Bobrow, Shariful IslamShariful Islam, Clara K Chow, Ralph MaddisonRalph Maddison, Robyn Whittaker, Andrew J Farmer
BACKGROUND: Interventions delivered by mobile phones have the potential to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) by supporting behavior change toward healthier lifestyles and treatment adherence. To allow replication and adaptation of these interventions across settings, it is important to fully understand how they have been developed. However, the development processes of these interventions have not previously been systematically examined. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to systematically describe and compare the development process of text messaging interventions identified in the Text2PreventCVD systematic review. METHODS: We extracted data about the development process of the 9 interventions identified in the Text2PreventCVD systematic review. Data extraction, which was guided by frameworks for the development of complex interventions, considered the following development stages: intervention planning, design, development, and pretesting. Following data extraction, we invited the developers of the interventions to contribute to our study by reviewing the accuracy of the extracted data and providing additional data not reported in the available publications. RESULTS: A comprehensive description of the development process was available for 5 interventions. Multiple methodologies were used for the development of each intervention. Intervention planning involved gathering information from stakeholder consultations, literature reviews, examination of relevant theory, and preliminary qualitative research. Intervention design involved the use of behavior change theories and behavior change techniques. Intervention development involved (1) generating message content based on clinical guidelines and expert opinions; (2) conducting literature reviews and primary qualitative research to inform decisions about message frequency, timing, and level of tailoring; and (3) gathering end-user feedback concerning message readability, intervention acceptability, and perceived utility. Intervention pretesting involved pilot studies with samples of 10 to 30 participants receiving messages for a period ranging from 1 to 4 weeks. CONCLUSIONS: The development process of the text messaging interventions examined was complex and comprehensive, involving multiple studies to guide decisions about the scope, content, and structure of the interventions. Additional research is needed to establish whether effective messaging systems can be adapted from work already done or whether this level of development is needed for application in other conditions and settings.



JMIR mHealth and uHealth





Article number



1 - 13


JMIR Publications


Toronto, Ont.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2019, Ignacio Ricci-Cabello, Kirsten Bobrow, Sheikh Mohammed Shariful Islam, Clara K Chow, Ralph Maddison, Robyn Whittaker, Andrew J Farmer