How qualitative methods contribute to intervention adaptation


Focus Areas: Health & Wellness

This paper describes how to use qualitative data for adapting an existing behavioral intervention to a new population using a specific illustration—the adaptation of the Women’s CoOp HIV intervention to the needs of women prisoners who have experienced interpersonal violence.

We describe and illustrate how we conducted each step in the adaptation process, including (1) choosing a well-matched intervention to adapt, (2) setting specific goals for the adaptation, (3) writing a focus group agenda that will collect the data you need for the adaptation, (4) recruiting participants and conducting the focus groups, (5) using debriefs to assess the data as you gather them, (6) coding, (7) analysis, (8) using the qualitative data to guide the intervention adaptation, (9) conducting additional groups and making final revisions, and (10) pilot testing the intervention. These steps provide an effective model for how to collect and analyze qualitative data that support behavioral intervention development.

Rosen, R. K., Kuo, C., Gobin, R., Peabody, M. E., Wechsberg, W., Zlotnick, C., & Johnson, J. (2018). How qualitative methods contribute to intervention adaptation: An HIV risk reduction example. Qualitative Psychology, 5(1), 2-15. DOI: 10.1037/qup0000093


Wendee Wechsberg

“We must listen to the communities, the local people, to understand culturally what is going to fit and what is going to be the language of the research, and not just say we know what to do here.”