Track Descriptions

The tracks are used for the purpose of reviewing abstract submissions. Accepted submissions will be grouped thematically (not necessarily by review track) in the meeting Final Program.


Adherence has been described as a patient’s tendency to follow medical recommendations. Abstracts that address etiologic factors (e.g., person, environmental, contextual) of non-adherence, measurement, and methodological issues related to adherence, interventions designed to prevent or remediate adherence problems, and examinations of theoretical models of adherence are appropriate for this track.

Behavioral Medicine in Clinical and Medical Settings

Abstracts that address psychological disorders as they arise in a clinical or medical setting and behavioral treatments for chronic illness are appropriate for this track. Abstracts with a focus on assessment and treatment of co-morbid psychiatric and medical conditions; consultation and collaboration with physicians; and cultural and ethical-legal concerns related to practicing in clinical or medical settings are appropriate for this track.

Biological Mechanisms in Health and Behavior Change

Abstracts that have a primary focus on bio-behavioral mechanisms and/or physiological risk factors of illness and disease are appropriate for this track. Investigations of the clinical and/or biological changes associated with these mechanisms or risk factors are encouraged. Specifically, submissions in the areas of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), psychophysiology (e.g., cardiovascular reactivity), and psychoneuroendocrinology are appropriate for this track.

Complementary and Integrative Medicine

Abstracts that address mechanisms of health, illness, and interventions that generally are outside conventional Western medical/psychological approaches are appropriate for this track. Interventions might include, but are not limited to, acupuncture, meditation, art therapy, Qi Gong, botanicals, special diets, or therapeutic touch.

Environmental and Contextual Factors in Health and Behavior Change

Abstracts that address the relations between health and the environment or contextual factors are appropriate for this track. Abstracts may address the contexts in which psychosocial and behavioral interventions are delivered (e.g., family, workplace, schools, community-based agencies, health systems); the synergistic ways in which interpersonal, socio-cultural, physical, environmental, and systems factors affect health and well-being; political, economic, and environmental determinants of health; and social and environmental factors implicated in the etiology, prevention, and treatment of a broad spectrum of health behaviors and illnesses.

Health Communication and Technology

Abstracts that focus on the impact of information and communication technology on health-related behaviors, outcomes, and processes are appropriate for this track. Abstracts that address the use of phone, computer, Internet, and other eHealth and mHealth technologies are appropriate for this track. Studies may address the use of such technologies by patients, health care providers, and/or health systems, as well as the design, implementation, and evaluation of behavior change interventions delivered through advanced technologies.

Health Decision Making

Abstracts that address the theory, science, and practice of health decision making, particularly as applied in behavioral medicine, are appropriate for this track. Relevant topics for abstracts submitted to this track include, but are not limited to, descriptive and intervention studies that seek to understand or promote informed decision making by patients and the general population; shared decision making between patients and health professionals; and clinical decision making by health professionals.

Health Promotion

Abstracts submitted to this track should provide data from research that targets health promoting or health risk behaviors. Examples include, but are not limited to, assessment or intervention studies of health promoting/risk reducing behaviors (e.g., healthy eating, physical activity/inactivity, sun safe behaviors, and tobacco cessation and prevention) as well as of screening/early detection behaviors (e.g., adherence with recommended self- or provider-delivered screenings).

Measurement and Methods

Abstracts that focus on measurement or methodological issues related to behavioral medicine topics are appropriate for this track. Relevant to this track are submissions that involve scale development, application of measurement techniques, or statistical approaches and applications. The focus of submissions to this track should be on measurement issues or methodological techniques.

Population Health, Policy, and Advocacy

Abstracts that focus on health and behavior of large segments of the population are appropriate for this track. Studies or programs with results that would apply to a significant percentage of the population are appropriate for this track. The application of the results to large segments of the population is a more relevant factor in submitting to this track than is the size of the study’s participant pool. In particular, abstracts that include policy implications, that involve behavioral medicine in the political process, or that report outcomes at the population level (e.g., cost-effectiveness) are appropriate for this track. Finally, approaches and programs that involve all levels of advocacy are of particular interest to this track.

Psychological and Person Factors in Health and Behavior Change

Abstracts submitted to this track should focus on the relationship between psychological or person factors and health, health behaviors, and behavior change. Such factors may include motivation, emotion, cognition, learning, risk perception, information processing, personality, and coping. Studies with results that may apply to a large segment of the population should be submitted to the population health, policy, and advocacy track.

Quality of Life

Quality of life has been defined as the degree to which the expected physical, emotional, and/or social well-being of an individual is impacted by treatment for a medical condition or the condition itself. Abstracts describing research on quality of life are appropriate for this track. Submissions may include documentation of quality of life in persons with various medical conditions, interventions to improve quality of life, and predictors of quality of life (e.g., psychosocial, contextual, environmental).

Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Factors in Health

Abstracts that emphasize the impact of race, ethnicity, and culture on health and illness in addition to other demographic and social-ecological factors (e.g., gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status) are appropriate for this track. Investigations of proposed biological, psychosocial, and contextual determinants of health and illness, as well as studies describing novel approaches to prevention and intervention, are relevant to this track. Studies that describe innovative approaches to the study of racial, ethnic, and cultural factors at the individual or population level are of particular interest.


Abstracts that describe spiritually- or religiously-oriented processes, mechanisms, or interventions related to health, health behaviors, and illness are appropriate for this track. Research focusing on the inclusion of spiritual matters in health care training programs or health care providers’ understanding of spiritual matters related to all aspects of health and disease are also relevant for this track.

Translation of Research to Practice

Submissions to this track should describe quantitative and/or qualitative studies that focus on the mechanisms underlying the successful dissemination of research findings into real-world practice. Although not a comprehensive list, data from demonstration, feasibility, effectiveness, and participatory studies would be highly suited for this track. Also appropriate for this track are abstracts that examine the reach and effectiveness of health behavior interventions as well as setting-level variables that may inhibit or facilitate intervention delivery.