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A Behaviour Change Analysis of Safer Sleep Interventions for Infants at Risk of Sudden and Unexpected Death

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ruth McGovernORCiD, Dr Simon BarrettORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2024 The Authors. Child Abuse Review published by Association of Child Protection Professionals and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.Rates of sudden unexpected death in infancy have been found to occur disproportionately amongst families living in the most deprived neighbourhoods. This suggests that standard safer sleep messaging may not be effective for this population and that research is required to identify ways of working that are better associated with behavioural change in parents with children at increased risk of SUDI. In this study, we aimed to explore the behavioural change components and mechanisms of action of safer sleep interventions for families with children at increased risk of SUDI. We conducted an analysis of the literature on safer sleep interventions using the COM-B model, Theoretical Domains Framework and Behavioural Change Technique Taxonomy. All interventions targeted parents' capability; 15 interventions targeted parents' opportunity; and six interventions targeted parents' motivation to engage in safer sleep practices. Nineteen behavioural change techniques were identified. The focus of practitioners may need to shift from solely the delivery of safer sleep information towards working with parents to understand their capability, opportunity and, in particular, motivation to engage in safer sleep practices, identified as being a key driver of behaviour in this population.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shiells K, Cann H, Pease A, McGovern R, Woodman J, Barrett S, Barlow J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Child Abuse Review

Year: 2024

Volume: 33

Issue: 2

Online publication date: 27/03/2024

Acceptance date: 07/01/2024

Date deposited: 08/04/2024

ISSN (print): 0952-9136

ISSN (electronic): 1099-0852

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd


DOI: 10.1002/car.2860


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Funder referenceFunder name
National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR)