Recommended Reading for Optimizing Behavioral Interventions | The Methodology Center

Recommended Reading for Optimizing Behavioral Interventions

Click on a topic to display the related articles.

The second article below is the best introduction to MOST.  To understand the conceptual issues underlying the design decisions, however, these articles are best read together, in the following order:

Baker, T. B., Mermelstein, R. J., Collins, L. M., Piper, M. E., Jorenby, D. E., Smith, S. S., Schlam, T. R. Cook, J. W., & Fiore, M. C. (2011). New methods for tobacco dependence treatment research. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 41, 192-207. PMCID: PMC3073306  View abstract

Collins, L. M., Baker, T. B., Mermelstein, R. J., Piper, M. E., Jorenby, D. E., Smith, S. S., Schlam, T. R., Cook, J. W., & Fiore, M. C. (2011). The multiphase optimization strategy for engineering effective tobacco use interventions. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 41, 208-226. PMCID: PMC3053423  View abstract


These articles describe the thinking behind some implementations of MOST or related approaches in field settings.  They describe factorial experiments in varying stages of completion.


Caldwell, L. L., Smith, E. A., Collins, L. M., Graham, J. W., Lai, M., Wegner, L., Vergnani, T., Matthews, C., & Jacobs, J. (2012). Translational research in South Africa: Evaluating implementation quality using a factorial design. Child and Youth Care Forum, 41, 119-136. PMCID: PMC3375728

Collins, L. M., Baker, T. B., Mermelstein, R. J., Piper, M. E., Jorenby, D. E., Smith, S. S., Schlam, T. R., Cook, J. W., & Fiore, M. C. (2011). The multiphase optimization strategy for engineering effective tobacco use interventions. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 41, 208-226. PMCID: PMC3053423  View abstract

McClure, J. B., Derry, H., Riggs, K. R., Westbrook, E. W., St. John, J., Shortreed, S. M., Bogart, A., & An, L. C. (2012). Questions about quitting (Q(2)): Design and methods of a Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST) randomized screening experiment for an online, motivational smoking cessation intervention. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 33(5), 1094-1102. PMCID: PMC3408878 View article

Pellegrini, C.A., Hoffman, S.A., Collins, L.M., & Spring, B. (In press).  Optimization of remotely delivered intensive lifestyle treatment for obesity using the multiphase optimization strategy:  Opt-IN study protocol.  Contemporary Clinical Trials.

Strecher, V. J., McClure, J. B., Alexander, G. W., Chakraborty, B., Nair, V. N., Konkel, J. M., Greene, S. M., Collins, L. M., Carlier, C. C., Wiese, C. J., Little, R. J., Pomerleau, C. S., & Pomerleau, O. F. (2008). Web-based smoking cessation programs: Results of a randomized trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 34, 373-381. PMCID: PMC2697448  View article


These articles review practical aspects of experimental design relevant to intervention science, and also attempt to correct some pervasively held misconceptions. These articles provide a rationale for considering a factorial experiment and may be useful citations.


Chakraborty, B., Collins, L. M., Strecher, V., and Murphy, S. A. (2009). Developing multicomponent interventions using fractional factorial designs. Statistics in Medicine, 28, 2687-2708. PMCID: PMC2746448  View article

Collins, L.M., Dziak, J.J., Kugler, K.C., & Trail, J.B. (2014).  Factorial experiments: Efficient tools for evaluation of intervention components. American Journal of Preventive Medicine47, 498-504.

Collins, L. M., Dziak, J. J., & Li, R. (2009). Design of experiments with multiple independent variables: A resource management perspective on complete and reduced factorial designs. Psychological Methods, 14(3), 202-224. PMCID: PMC2796056  View article

Dziak, J. J., Nahum-Shani, I., & Collins, L. M. (2012). Multilevel factorial experiments for developing behavioral interventions:  Power, sample size, and resource considerations. Psychological Methods, 17, 153. PMCID: PMC3351535  View abstract

Nair, V., Strecher, V., Fagerlin, A., Ubel, P., Resnicow, K., Murphy, S. A., Little, R., Chakraborty, B., & Zhang, A. (2008). Screening experiments and the use of fractional factorial designs in behavioral intervention research. American Journal of Public Health, 98, 1354-1359. PMCID: PMC2446451 View article


This article addresses the question “Is MOST really likely to produce more potent behavioral interventions in practice?” by means of an extensive statistical simulation:


Collins, L. M., Chakraborty, B., Murphy, S. A., & Strecher, V. (2009). Comparison of a phased experimental approach and a single randomized clinical trial for developing multicomponent behavioral interventions. Clinical Trials, 6(1), 5-15. PMCID: PMC2711350  View article

Collins, L.M., Kugler, K., Trail, J.B., Baker, T., & Mermelstein, R. (2014).  Evaluating individual intervention components:  Making decisions based on the results of a factorial component screening experiment. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 4, 238-251.

Wyrick, D.L., Rulison, K.L., Fearnow-Kenney, M., Milroy, J.J., & Collins, L.M. (2014).  Moving beyond the treatment package approach to developing behavioral interventions: Addressing questions that arose during an application of the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST). Translational Behavioral Medicine, 4, 252-259.

Dong, Y., Rivera D.E., Downs, D.S., Savage, J.S., Thomas, D.M., & Collins, L.M. (2013). Hybrid model predictive control for optimizing gestational weight gain behavioral interventions. Procedings from the 2013 American Control Conference. 1970-1975. PMCID: PMC3856197.

Timms, K.P., Rivera, D.E., Collins, L.M., & Piper, M.E. (2014). Continuous-time system identification of a smoking cessation intervention. International Journal of Control, 87, 1423-1437. 

Timms, K. P., Rivera, D. E., Collins, L. M., & Piper, M. E. (2013).  A dynamical systems approach to understand self-regulation in smoking cessation behavior change. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 16, S159-168. 

Timms, K. P., Rivera, D. E., Collins, L. M., & Piper, M. E. (2013).  Control systems engineering for understanding and optimizing smoking cessation interventions. Proceedings from the 2013 American Control Conference.

Trail, J. B., Collins, L. M., Rivera, D. E., Li, R., Piper, M., & Baker, T. (2013). Functional data analysis for the system identification of behavioral processes.  Psychological Methods, 19, 175-187.

Like Us On Facebook or Tweet This Page