Outlook: Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine

Winter 2020-21

Introducing the Multiple Health Behavior Change and Multi-Morbidities (MHBCM) SIG

Brad Appelhans, PhD; Peter Giacobbi, PhD; and Tammy Stump, PhD; Multiple Health Behavior Change and Multi-Morbidities SIG

We are pleased to announce that the MHBCM SIG recently received formal approval from the SBM board. The SIGs that merged to create MHBCM have a rich history in SBM and brought a large pool of members and intellectual interests.

The Multiple Health Behavior Change (MHBC) SIG was formed around empirical evidence and the clinical reality that multiple health behaviors contribute more to the risks of chronic disease than single behaviors. MHBC interventions address two or more health behaviors either sequentially or simultaneously. The MHBC SIG was formed to encourage and support multidisciplinary research and knowledge translation using an integrated approach.

The Transdisease Processes SIG formed around a common interest in the roles of neurocognitive and decision-making processes in a variety of health outcomes. For example, delay discounting, different domains of executive function, emotion regulation, impulsivity, and reward processing are implicated in addiction, obesity and cardiometabolic disease, and other conditions. Our SIG aimed to bring together researchers studying these processes across disease states, both to consolidate our knowledge of how these constructs influence health and to improve our measurement capabilities.

The Multi-Morbidities SIG addressed the growing challenge of individuals exhibiting multiple chronic health conditions, including the combinations of two or more physical health conditions as well as the co-occurrence of both mental and physical health conditions. The presence of multiple health conditions presents psychosocial and behavioral demands that are often not addressed by existing interventions. This SIG aimed to raise awareness of these issues to promote assessment of multi-morbidity as well as efforts to prevent and control multi-morbidity using evidence-based techniques.

During 2019, our SIGs came to realize that these areas had substantial overlap and that a combined SIG would help leverage our strengths and create new opportunities for professional networking.

The mission of the MHBCM SIG is to 1) contribute to the development of a science of multiple health behavior change for health promotion and disease management, and 2) advance approaches to understanding and promoting health among those with multiple physical health conditions. When health risk behaviors co-occur, and/or a patient has multi-morbidities, they have an increased risk of poor health outcomes. Intervening in these contexts presents a unique set of challenges, such as whether to intervene simultaneously vs. sequentially to impact multiple behaviors or conditions and selecting and analyzing multiple outcome variables. Our group addresses the theoretical, methodological, intervention, statistical and funding issues related to targeting multiple health behaviors for change and promoting health among those with multi-morbidities. Our cross-disciplinary group is designed to enhance the professional development of its members by fostering networking, mentorship, career development, and scientific discussion.

We are grateful to all who provided input throughout this SIG merger. As you renew your SBM membership, please consider signing up for the MHBCM SIG if you aren't already a member.