Developing Assistive Interventions: Promises and Challenges

Developing Assistive Interventions: Promises and Challenges

Sitwat Langrial (Sur University College, Oman)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8789-9.ch028
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Abstract

Digital interventions have received a great deal of attention from researchers and scholars. Development, implementation, and evaluation of behavior change, and assistive technologies for improved living are being increasingly studied. Assistive technologies in particular have opened up venues for technological advancements for supported living for people with mental and physical disabilities. This chapter is conceptual in nature and discusses the emergence of digital interventions for improved living. Further advancement of a relatively new research field of Persuasive Technology is discussed that is largely related to supporting healthy living. The aim of the chapter is to review early digital interventions and emergence of behavior change and assistive technologies. It highlights potential benefits that could be realized through the use of carefully designed behavior change and assistive technologies. In addition, several key challenges, promises, and pitfalls are briefly outlined. Presented knowledge would help researchers and practitioners in abstracting, designing, and evaluating assistive technologies.
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Digital Interventions

Information systems that aim to change behaviors are often considered as digital (behavior) interventions (Reeve & Dunbar, 2001). It could be cautiously argued that labeling behavior change technologies as digital interventions is rather simplistic. The research field of digital interventions dates back to early 90s where interventions were primarily employed and evaluated in the field of preventive health and medicine largely through intermediations (paper-based and/or telephonic reminders). A considerable number of studies have been conducted that aimed to intervene health-related behaviors. For instance, Reiter, Robertson and Osman’s (2003) STOP system studied smoking behaviors using digitally generated and letter-based interventions: Revere and Dunbar (2001) argue that tailored digital interventions are moderately effective. Likewise, Brendryen and Kraft (2008) studied web-based digital intervention for smoke cessation. The intervention was conducted using the Internet and telephone. Brendryen and Kraft (2008) argue that digital interventions showed promise in supporting people adopt healthy behaviors. Noar, Harrington and Aldrich (2009) report that a substantial amount of work has been done in personalizing interventions in the health domain. They base their illustration on their review of 37 health behavior intervention studies. Noar et al. (2009) also performed a meta-analytic review of 57 studies evaluating health behavior interventions and report that tailoring can bring effectiveness to digital interventions in the health domain.

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