Acceptability of financial incentives for encouraging uptake of healthy behaviours: A critical review using systematic methods

Emma Giles, Shannon Robalino, Falko Sniehotta, Jean M. Adams, Elaine McColl

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    Abstract

    Objective

    Financial incentives are effective in encouraging healthy behaviours, yet concerns about acceptability remain. We conducted a systematic review exploring acceptability of financial incentives for encouraging healthy behaviours.
    Methods

    Database, reference, and citation searches were conducted from the earliest available date to October 2014, to identify empirical studies and scholarly writing that: had an English language title, were published in a peer-reviewed journal, and explored acceptability of financial incentives for healthy behaviours in members of the public, potential recipients, potential practitioners or policy makers. Data was analysed using thematic analysis.
    Results

    Eighty one papers were included: 59 pieces of scholarly writing and 22 empirical studies, primarily exploring acceptability to the public. Five themes were identified: fair exchange, design and delivery, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, recipients, and impact on individuals and wider society. Although there was consensus that if financial incentives are effective and cost effective they are likely to be considered acceptable, a number of other factors also influenced acceptability.
    Conclusions

    Financial incentives tend to be acceptable to the public when they are effective and cost-effective. Programmes that benefit recipients and wider society; are considered fair; and are delivered to individuals deemed appropriate are likely to be considered more acceptable.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)145-158
    JournalPreventive Medicine
    Volume73
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Bibliographical note

    Following 12 month embargo author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing).

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