Measuring fidelity to behavioural support delivery for smoking cessation and its association with outcomes

Omara Dogar (Lead / Corresponding author), Jan Boehnke, Fabiana Lorencatto, Trevor A. Sheldon, Kamran Siddiqi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)
    99 Downloads (Pure)


    Background and aims: Behavioural support increases smoking cessation in clinical settings, but effect sizes differ among providers, due possibly to variations in delivery. This study evaluates a measure (‘fidelity index’) intended to capture fidelity to delivery of content- and interaction-based items of a behavioural support (BS) for smoking cessation and the association of fidelity with quit rates.

    Methods: A fidelity index for scoring the adherence and quality domains of a specific BS intervention, ‘5As for quit’, was developed by classifying the intervention components using the taxonomy of behaviour change techniques. The index was applied to code 154 BS sessions audiotaped among 18 chest clinics in Pakistan to assess their fidelity and explore reliability of coding. The association between intervention fidelity and successful quit achieved by the same providers in a previous study was explored using regression analysis.

    Results: The index represented two domains: adherence to delivery of content-based activities of 5As (37 items) and quality of interaction-based activities (eight items). The intercoder reliability was good for content-based (average Krippendorff's α = 0.80) and moderate for interaction-based (average Krippendorff's α = 0.66) items. Approximately 70% (intraclass correlation coefficient: adherence scores = 0.72, quality scores = 0.71) of variation in BS delivery was contributed by providers, which increased to 97% (g-coefficient: adherence scores = 0.973, quality scores = 0.974) after accounting for other sources of variation. Higher quit rates were positively associated with average quality scores [risk ratio = 2.15; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.43–3.24], but negatively associated with average adherence scores (risk ratio = 0.55; 95% CI = 0.40–0.77) within services.

    Conclusions: The fidelity index is a reliable measure for quantifying intervention fidelity of delivering smoking cessation behavioural support. Recommended revisions of the fidelity index include incorporation of additional interaction-based items, such as the relational techniques used in motivational interviewing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)368-380
    Number of pages25
    Issue number2
    Early online date8 Sept 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2020


    • Behavioural Support
    • Behaviour Change Techniques
    • Smoking cessation
    • Intervention fidelity
    • Fidelity scores
    • Fidelity Index
    • fidelity index
    • Behaviour change techniques
    • smoking cessation
    • intervention fidelity
    • behavioural support
    • fidelity scores

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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