Person Based Approach

The Person-Based Approach (PBA) describes iterative methods for planning, optimising, evaluating and implementing behavioural health interventions.

The approach emerged from our experiences of developing numerous successful interventions over the last decade and continues to evolve as we identify new and better ways of implementing it.

This website will be regularly updated with the latest developments and examples of how the person-based approach can be used in practice.

What is the Person-Based Approach?

In a nutshell, the PBA adapts and integrates methods from user-centred design and in-depth qualitative research to enable a deep understanding of:

  • The views of our intervention users
  • The contexts within which they are engaging with the intervention/behavioural change
  • Their experiences of using the intervention

This understanding then informs the planning, optimisation and evaluation of behavioural health interventions, ensuring that interventions are maximally meaningful, engaging and feasible for all users.

PBA Process

Find out more

Click here to read more papers that have applied and illustrate the Person-Based Approach.

Why use the Person-Based Approach?

The PBA is intended to complement rather than replace theory- and evidence-based approaches and offers a distinct but complementary method that is used alongside PPI involvement in intervention development (read more: here).

These are some of the key advantages to taking a theory-, evidence- AND person-based approach to intervention development and evaluation:

  • The PBA goes beyond specifying intervention content by also considering how content is best delivered and communicated to be optimally persuasive and engaging
  • Problems with user engagement can be discovered and resolved early so that fewer resources are wasted on evaluating or implementing interventions that will not prove effective
  • You may discover the need for new intervention features that are not yet evidence-based or indicated by existing theory
  • The PBA provides a means of systematically identifying, agreeing, prioritising and documenting the changes needed to optimise interventions (read more)


If you would like to know more about the Person-Based Approach or find out about upcoming training workshops please contact Dr Leanne Morrison, University of Southampton L.Morrison@soton.ac.uk