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Designing a Health Behavior Change Program for Dissemination to Underserved Pregnant Women


Janice M. Prochaska, Pro-Change Behavior Systems Inc., PO Box 755, West Kingston, RI 02892. E-mail:


ABSTRACT Objectives: The paper describes the formative research conducted toward developing a health behavior change program for underserved pregnant women. It is provided as an example to guide researchers, academics, and practitioners on how to incorporate dissemination in all aspects of project planning and implementation.

Design and Sample: A series of formative research was conducted, including an advisory council, expert interviews, 6 focus groups and 5 usability interviews with the target population (n=53), key informant interviews, expert reviews of the pilot program, and a pilot test (n=87). A total of 140 underserved pregnant women were recruited from Community Health Center Inc. in Connecticut.

Results: The extensive formative research served to lay the foundation for the development of a healthy pregnancy behavior change program. The pilot test exemplified the feasibility and acceptability of the program.

Conclusion: Successful adoption of interventions depends upon strong formative research, participatory research methods, interdisciplinary collaboration, and a commitment to dissemination from project inception. The development of the intervention discussed serves as a useful and practical example for others working in health care and behavioral medicine to improve the overall health and well-being of the underserved.