COM-B and the Behaviour Change Wheel

Resources and further reading


​The COM-B model represents the observation that at any given moment, a particular behaviour will occur only when the person concerned has the capability and opportunity to engage in the behaviour and is more motivated to enact that behaviour than any other behaviours. 

A brief introduction to the COM-B Model of behaviour and the PRIME Theory of motivation 

(introductory article by Michie & West)

De-Mystifying COM-B And How It Can Be Used In Research 

(Recording of my webinar for the ICG)

Unlocking Behaviour Change

Videos, PDFs and one-page explainers, including how COM-B/BCW compares with MINDSPACE and EAST

Engaged (Amy Bucher)

This book includes examples of how to use COM-B in the context of behavioural design - highly recommended!

Applying Behavioural Science to the Private Sector: Decoding What People Say and What They Do (Helena Rubinstein)

This is another excellent book that includes COM-B, and situates it in the context of other behaviour change approaches. 

STEP 2: Behaviour Change Wheel 

The next step after COM-B is to understand the Behaviour Change Wheel. The accessible explainers on Unlocking Behaviour Change website listed in step 1 are a great introduction, but if you want to dig deeper, the BCW book is your next step. Additionally, the wider compendium of behaviour change theories that is linked to the BCW and is very helpful when you need to dive deeper. 

Behaviour Change Wheel

The book is a guide to designing and evaluating behaviour change interventions and policies, based on the Behaviour Change Wheel, a synthesis of 19 behaviour change frameworks that draw on a wide range of disciplines and approaches.

ABC of Behaviour Change Theories

This book describes 83 theories of behaviour change, identified by an expert panel of psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists and economists as relevant to designing interventions. For each theory, the book provides a brief summary, a list of its component constructs, a more extended description and a network analysis to show its links with other theories in the book. It considers the role of theory in understanding behaviour change and its application to designing and evaluating interventions.

STEP 3: The Theoretical Domains Framework

Determining the factors that influence a given behaviour is essential for any successful behaviour change intervention but the vast number of psychological theories makes this challenging. To simplify the use of theory in behaviour change studies, a group of health psychologists, health psychology theorists, and implementation researchers developed the TDF to behaviour change theories more accessible to implementation researchers. 

The TDF provides a theoretical lens through which to view the cognitive, affective, social and environmental influences on behaviour - i.e. a list of factors that could potentially influence a given behaviour. It includes 84 constructs sorted into 14 domains that help identify and describe the factors that influence a behaviour.

N.B. It does not explain or offer causality about the determinants of a behaviour in a given context, or propose testable hypotheses about determinants of a behaviour. 

Introductory articles:

The theory:

Human Behaviour-Change Project

Introductory articles: 

More details:

The Human Behaviour-Change Project (HBCP) is creating an online ‘Knowledge System’ that uses Artificial Intelligence, in particular Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning, to extract information from intervention evaluation reports to answer key questions about the evidence. It is a collaboration between behavioural scientists, computer scientists and systems architects.