Notice of Interest in Long-Term Maintenance of Behavior Change Research


The NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and to apply that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. To achieve this mission, the NIH substantially invests in research that encourages people to engage in behaviors that prevent illness or optimize their overall well-being while living with a chronic condition.

The purpose of this notice is to encourage research into the maintenance of health behavior change. Many funding opportunity announcements state the importance of the maintenance of behavior change, and request research projects that aim to promote long-term behavior change. Nevertheless, much more research is needed on how best to promote the maintenance of behavior change, particularly given the mounting evidence that the mechanisms underlying the initiation of behavior change are not synonymous with those underlying the maintenance of behavior change.

Testing for behavior change maintenance often requires longer-term follow-up than what is achievable within a single NIH R01 grant timeframe. The NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICOs) listed on this notice are interested expressly in competitive renewal (type 2) applications that propose continued research with participants from a previously funded behavioral intervention to see if and how behaviors were maintained. Ideas for unique approaches using other types of NIH research mechanisms are welcome. Regardless of the NIH funding mechanism, applicants are encouraged to explore, for example—

  • The types of behaviors that were maintained
  • Why the behavior(s) were or were not maintained
  • What intermediate behavior-related changes emerged
  • The impact on health outcomes, or at least intermediate outcomes or laboratory values
  • Underlying individual, social, community, or environmental processes influencing behavior maintenance or discontinuation
  • The effectiveness/value of boosters
  • Populations or subgroups of participants who were able to maintain the behavior change and illuminate them

The bulleted items above are exemplars and do not constitute an exhaustive list of ICO-specific interests. Analysis of data on longer-term, health-related behavior change can help build a more cumulative and integrated knowledge base on behavioral and social sciences in public health and work toward reducing health disparities.


Please direct all inquiries to:

The OBSSR does not award grants. Principal investigators interested in proposing such research projects should first contact the program director associated with an original NIH research project grant.

William Elwood, Ph.D.
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)
Telephone: 301-402-0116