From ideas to efficacy: The ORBIT model for developing behavioral treatments for chronic diseases

Health Psychol. 2015 Oct;34(10):971-82. doi: 10.1037/hea0000161. Epub 2015 Feb 2.


Objective: Given the critical role of behavior in preventing and treating chronic diseases, it is important to accelerate the development of behavioral treatments that can improve chronic disease prevention and outcomes. Findings from basic behavioral and social sciences research hold great promise for addressing behaviorally based clinical health problems, yet there is currently no established pathway for translating fundamental behavioral science discoveries into health-related treatments ready for Phase III efficacy testing. This article provides a systematic framework for developing behavioral treatments for preventing and treating chronic diseases.

Method: The Obesity-Related Behavioral Intervention Trials (ORBIT) model for behavioral treatment development features a flexible and progressive process, prespecified clinically significant milestones for forward movement, and return to earlier stages for refinement and optimization.

Results: This article presents the background and rationale for the ORBIT model, a summary of key questions for each phase, a selection of study designs and methodologies well-suited to answering these questions, and prespecified milestones for forward or backward movement across phases.

Conclusions: The ORBIT model provides a progressive, clinically relevant approach to increasing the number of evidence-based behavioral treatments available to prevent and treat chronic diseases. (PsycINFO Database Record

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Biomedical Research
  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Humans