How does behaviour
impact health & wellbeing?


Emerald and SDGs
An Emerald mission in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Behaviour plays a critical role in people’s health, wellbeing and the lifestyle choices that they make. It’s also widely recognised that social indicators and material circumstances affect both individual and collective behaviours.

Therefore, activities and policies predicated on changing the health behaviours of people will be delivered at individual, community, organisation or population levels; although this can be difficult when the ethical acceptability of nudges to influence one’s thinking has become a rich seam of debate.

In our mission to better understand behaviour change on health and wellbeing, we ask: Are some health behaviours easier to change than others? Why is sustaining behavioural change so difficult? Is it more effective to change a number of behaviours simultaneously or one behaviour at a time? And do nudges enhance or restrict freedom of choice and personal autonomy?

We're inviting you to contribute to the discussion by sharing your research, insights and/or viewpoints that relate to behaviour change. Please get in touch with us.

This mission is aligned with our Healthier lives goal

Section 1

Free access to our articles, blogs & podcast episode

Journal articles

Explore our range of research on this topic.


Podcast & blogs

Take a look at our latest podcast episode and blogs to find out more about what our authors have to say regarding behaviour change on health and wellbeing.


Self-compassion: the benefits of being kind to yourself

Guests: Mary Steen, Dianne Wepa, and Stephen McGhee

This podcast explores how self-compassion can have a positive impact on personal health and wellbeing.

Find out more and read the transcript



Lifestyle drift is killing health promotion

James Woodall photo

Author: James Woodall, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK.

Why is 'lifestyle drift' killing progress in health promotion policy and practice? Find out in this blog.

Read the blog >

Can we build better leaders in the health sciences?

Colleen Mayowski photoMarie Norman photo

Authors: Associate Professor Marie Norman and Assistant Professor Colleen Mayowski, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania, US.

If the Covid pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the importance of creative, savvy, responsive leaders in the health sciences. But how do we create such leaders? Read this blog to find out.

Read the blog >

Article: Evaluation of two longitudinal faculty leadership training programs: behavioral change and institutional impact

Journal of Health Organization and Management

Health and wellbeing amongst people experiencing multiple disadvantage – reflections from the Fulfilling Lives programme

Rachel Moreton photoJoanna Welford photo

Author: Joanna Welford and Rachel Moreton, CFE Research, Leicester, UK.

Read this blog to find out more about the health and well-being amongst people experiencing multiple disadvantage through reflections from the Fulfilling Lives programme.

Read the blog >

Special issue: Supporting people experiencing multiple disadvantage: evidence from the Fulfilling Lives programme

Housing, Care and Support

The health and wellbeing benefits of practicing self-compassion

Stephen McGhee photoDianne Wepa photoMary Steen photo

Authors: Mary Steen, University of Northumbria, Newcastle, UK; Dianne Wepa, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK; & Stephen McGhee, Ohio State University, Columbus, US.

Read this blog to find out more about the health and wellbeing benefits of practicing self-compassion.

Read the blog >

Podcast: Self-compassion: the benefits of being kind to yourself

section 2

Different routes to publication

If you would like to contribute to the discussion, take a look at our different routes to publication and contact us to get involved.

Recent books, special issues, book chapter & call for papers

See our recently published books, special issues, book chapter and call for papers on this topic.


Household Self-Tracking During a Global Health Crisis: Shaping Bodies, Lives, Health and Illness

Book series: Emerald Points

View the book

Special issue

Drug Checking - From guerrilla to government agent: the full spectrum of drug checking services

Drugs, Habits and Social Policy

View the special issue

Book chapter

Health Communication and Socio-cultural Behavioural Change in Respect to COVID-19 in South Africa

Book: COVID-19 and the Media in Sub-Saharan Africa: Media Viability, Framing and Health Communication

View the book chapter

Read the blog by Sabihah Moola

Call for papers

Employee voice and silence in the health sector

Journal of Health Organization and Management

View the call for papers

section 3

Additional information

Drug checking services at festivals and user behaviours

Can DCS o­ffered at festivals help drug users?

View the infographic to find out more (PDF)

Article: Who uses drug checking services? Assessing uptake and outcomes at English festivals in 2018

Journal: Drugs, Habits and Social Policy

Drug checking services at festivals and user behaviours

Drug checking services (DCS) combine rapid chemical analysis with health consultations to reduce drug-related harm by

  • Directly engaging with drug users to inform them of the content and strength of submitted substances, with individually tailored advice
  • Alert stakeholders & wider drug-using communities to substances of concern
  • Monitor drug trends

Can DCS offered at festivals help drug users?

  • 7 music festivals in the UK (2018)
  • 253,000 attendees
  • 158,000 taking drugs at these festivals
  • DCS delivered by professionals
  • Uptake of 2.7%

2,672 substances of concern tested

Provenance of samples

  • 91.5% of substances bought offsite matched purchase intent
  • 75.6% of substances bought onsite matched purchase intent

When substances were other than expected:

  • 61.7% disposed of further substances of concern
  • 36.2% intended to alert their friends to substances of concern

When substances matched purchase intent:

  • 48.7% intended to take a lower dose in future
  • 1.2% intended to increase dosage

4,240 attendees received tailored health care

DCS users were more likely to:

  • Be younger
  • Be male
  • Report having used multiple drugs in the past month

94.5% Had never spoken with a health professional previously about their alcohol or other drug use
5.5% Requested signposting or onward referral to health services

DCS delivered at festivals can serve as effective health interventions for young adults by reducing risks of poisoning or overdose and by providing access to healthcare support.

Who Uses Drug Checking Services? Assessing Uptake and Outcomes at English Festivals in 2018
Measham and Simmons (2022) DOI: 10.1108/DHS-02-2022-0008

Expert Briefing

Pandemic-related behavioural changes will persist



Talk to us about your work

We really welcome insights not only from researchers but practitioners too about their work.

If you would like to contribute to the discussion, or you are working on research in areas related to behaviour change on health and wellbeing, please let us know by filling in this form.


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