Social and behavior change (SBC) programs typically focus on the characteristics of the people who “do” a particular behavior, such as first time parents—what receives less attention are the attributes of behaviors: such as whether a behavior is difficult, how often a behavior needs to be repeated to be effective, and, how the attribute influences, or if people adopt, the behavior. To address this gap, Breakthrough RESEARCH conducted an extensive evidence review of the attributes of behaviors, exploring which characteristics different behaviors might have in common, and how these insights might inform SBC program strategies to change behavior. A set of nine behavioral attributes were categorized in two groups: “more universally applicable attributes” broadly the same regardless of specific social, cultural, or economic contexts, and “more contextually-influenced attributes” more or less important or applicable depending upon context.
Breakthrough RESEARCH. 2020. “Insights to improve social and behavior change programming through a focus on the attributes of behaviors,” Programmatic Research Brief. Washington, DC: Population Council.