An evaluation of goal setting in the NHS England diabetes prevention programme



Hawkes RE, Warren L, Cameron E & French DP (2022) An evaluation of goal setting in the NHS England diabetes prevention programme. Psychology and Health, 37 (2), pp. 131-150.

Objective: We know little about how goal setting is actually delivered in routine practice. The National Health Service Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS-DPP) is a behavioural intervention aiming to prevent progression to Type 2 diabetes in those at risk. It has been delivered across England by four commercial providers. This study aimed to establish whether goal setting in the NHS-DPP was delivered in line with the current evidence base. Design: Observational study and document review. One-hundred-and-eighteen NHS-DPP sessions with 419 people were observed at eight sites (two sites per provider). Main outcome measures: Multiple characteristics of goal setting were reliably coded from each providers’ programme plans (intended goal setting) and from audio-recorded NHS-DPP sessions (actual goal setting). Results: Providers intended to deliver goal setting in 88.3% of sessions, though goal setting was delivered in only 52.5% of sessions. During delivery, the observed goals set across providers were generally specific (62.5%), set privately (53.1%), with goal difficulty rarely mentioned (3.1%). Conclusions: Goal setting in the NHS-DPP is being under-delivered, and not in line with the evidence base for promoting behavioural change. Goal setting in national behaviour change programmes should be optimised and training provided specifically for goal setting.

Goal setting; behaviour change; diabetes prevention; fidelity; implementation

Psychology and Health: Volume 37, Issue 2

FundersNational Institute for Health Research
Publication date31/12/2022
Publication date online28/02/2021
Date accepted by journal04/01/2021

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Dr Elaine Cameron
Dr Elaine Cameron

Lecturer in Health Psychology, Psychology