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Table 2 Worked examples of AACTT-specified behaviours across study designs

From: Action, actor, context, target, time (AACTT): a framework for specifying behaviour

Study designInterviews (qualitative) [55]Questionnaire (quantitative) [34]Intervention development [56]Cluster randomised trial [57]Fidelity assessment (process evaluation) [58]Mechanism of change (process evaluation) [59]
ActionManaging back pain without X-rayPrescribing additional antihypertensive drugsProvision of sexual counselling group sessionsExamining feet yourself and/or referring for foot examProviding behavioural support for smoking cessation (detailed by component behaviour change techniques)Advising patient to make an appointment for retinal screening within the next 12 months
ActorChiropractorsGeneral practitionersCardiac rehabilitation healthcare staffGeneral practitioner and nurseTrained specialist stop smoking advisorFamily doctors
ContextPrivate clinics (Canada, USA with an HMO)Practice clinicHospitals in the Republic of IrelandPractice clinicEnglish stop-smoking service clinic in East London and North EnglandExamination room in family practice
TargetPatient with acute low back painPatients with type 2 diabetes whose blood pressure (BP) is 5 mmHg above a target of 140 mmHg systolic BP or 80 mmHg diastolic BP even following previous managementPatients aged 18+ with cardiovascular diseasePatients with type 2 diabetesSmokers trying to quitSpecific patient scenario: 57-year-old woman with type 2 diabetes on metformin 500 mg, non-smoker, no other medication, A1C < 7%, BMI 25, BP 125/75, normal foot exam, attended retinal screening over 12 months ago
TimeDuring patient visitOver the next 12 monthsDuring Phase III cardiac rehabilitationIn the last 12 monthsOver four weekly sessionsDuring annual diabetes checkup