AHBR student, Amy, works directly with research participants to collect data for a study she is working on with her mentor.

What is Applied Health Behavior Research?

Health Behavior Research is a multidisciplinary field that applies psychology, public health, behavioral medicine, communication science, and statistics to promote health and prevent disease.

Applied research seeks to solve practical, real-world problems through innovative interventions, and has immediate and practical use in clinical and community settings. By definition, Applied Health Behavior Research is a transdisciplinary science; it seeks to implement and evaluate effective interventions into standard practice in clinical and community settings to improve health outcomes.

Health behaviors are important components of medical care and clinical research. Key examples include: chronic disease self-management, patient adherence, healthcare avoidance, and doctor-patient communication. Few medical breakthroughs have any impact on population health unless patients and physicians also address relevant health behaviors. Medicines must be taken as directed, preventive screenings must be arranged and completed on a schedule, and lifestyle modifications (e.g., weight loss, exercise, tobacco cessation) may be prescribed to improve some clinical outcomes (e.g., obesity, joint pain, chronic diseases).