Lifestyle change in adults with intellectual disabilities: use and effectiveness of behaviour change techniques

Mariël Willems

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

    1969 Downloads (Pure)


    Adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) experience physical inactivity, have high levels of sedentary behaviour as well as unhealthy eating habits. To improve their lifestyle, professional caregivers play an important role. However, until now, no knowledge is available if and how Behaviour Change Techniques (BCT’s) are used within lifestyle change interventions, and by caregivers in daily support of persons with mild ID. Also, it is unknown which BCT’s are suitable to support adults with ID, and how caregivers can learn to promote healthy behaviour. The main aim of this thesis was to investigate the usage and effectiveness of lifestyle change interventions by professional caregivers to support adults with mild ID. The use and suitability of behaviour change techniques (BCTs) by professional caregivers was studied in particular. A training to learn how to use a BCT called ‘Action planning’ was performed and evaluated.
    This thesis shows that there is only little evidence on the effectiveness of lifestyle change interventions in adults with ID. The BCTs used were mostly used in an implicit way, not referring to any theoretical base nor describing the BCT explicitly. Professional caregivers use behaviour change techniques to support lifestyle change of adults with mild ID. However, they rarely used the most promising BCTs. So, training professional caregivers in behaviour change led to self-reported increased use of the BCT “action planning”. This important finding indicates that this training can be used to improve future lifestyle support for adults with mild ID. Further development of effective and suitable training programs is necessary to capacitate professional caregivers in changing lifestyle behaviour of adults with mild ID.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • van der Schans, Cornelis, Supervisor
    • Waninge, Aly, Co-supervisor
    • de Jong, J., Co-supervisor, External person
    • Hilgenkamp, Thessa I. M., Co-supervisor, External person
    Award date9-Dec-2019
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-94-034-2140-7
    Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-2139-1
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    Dive into the research topics of 'Lifestyle change in adults with intellectual disabilities: use and effectiveness of behaviour change techniques'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this