Use of behaviour change techniques by direct support professionals to support healthy lifestyle behaviour for people with moderate to profound intellectual disabilities

Annelies Overwijk*, Annette A. J. van der Putten, Cees P. van der Schans, Mariel Willems, Thessa I. M. Hilgenkamp, Aly Waninge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background Behaviour change techniques (BCTs) can be employed to support a healthy lifestyle for people with intellectual disabilities. The aim of this study is to determine whether and which BCTs are used by direct support professionals (DSPs) for supporting healthy lifestyle behaviour of people with moderate to profound intellectual disabilities.

Method Direct support professionals (n = 18) were observed in their daily work using audio-visual recordings. To code BCTs, the Coventry Aberdeen London Refined (CALO-RE-NL) taxonomy was employed.

Results Direct support professionals used 33 BCTs out of 42. The most used BCTs were as follows: 'feedback on performance', 'instructions on how to perform the behaviour', 'doing together', 'rewards on successful behaviour', 'reward effort towards behaviour', 'DSP changes environment', 'graded tasks', 'prompt practice' and 'model/demonstrate behaviour'.

Conclusions Although a variety of BCTs is used by DSPs in their support of people with moderate to profound intellectual disabilities when facilitating healthy lifestyle behaviour, they rely on nine of them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1048-1056
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number4
Early online date8-Dec-2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2021


  • behaviour change techniques
  • direct support professionals
  • lifestyle behaviour
  • moderate to profound intellectual disabilities

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