Psychological scientists study the critical links between behavior and health. Some of the leading causes of premature death—including smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, and inactivity and poor diet—are tied closely to behavioral and social factors. Fortunately for researchers attempting to improve health outcomes, there’s a growing online resource dedicated to providing scientists with tools to study behavioral health, and helping these scientists collaborate.
The Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) Research Network, a group funded by the National Institutes of Health and coordinated by researchers at Columbia University, attempts to apply the science of behavior change theory to study the behavior-health link. These behavior change theorists attempt to identify the behavioral mechanisms that lead to poor (or improved) health, measure these mechanisms, and then try to influence the mechanisms in or outside of the laboratory.
“Understanding the basic mechanisms of behavior change, across a broad range of health-related behaviors, can lead to more effective approaches and interventions, improving the health of our nation,” states SOBC.
Scientists interested in learning more about SOBC can visit its website, which contains a host of resources. Interested researchers can learn more about the SOBC method; learn about different projects attempting to improve self-regulation, stress resilience, and social processes; and access a large set of measures that behavior change researchers can use to study these important influences.
“SOBC aims to bring together basic and applied scientists to support mechanistic research across health-related behaviors, such as diet, exercise, and medication adherence, in order to develop more effective behavioral interventions,” the website reads.
The SOBC network invites you to access its resources and join in this growing group of psychological scientists and institutions interested in applying behavioral science to improve society.