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+/-What are the benefits of using existing models?

Researchers can choose from a wealth of existing models. There are many benefits to using an existing model. It encourages researchers to build on previous findings. Demonstrating a new application of the model increases the generalizability of the model thereby enhancing the field’s understanding of a model and its constructs.

+/-Why adapting of D&I models might be necessary?

A researcher will almost always adapt a model in some way; therefore, adaptation is often an important part of using a model. Adaptation often improves the appropriateness of the selected model to the intervention being disseminated or implemented, the population, and the setting. Further, adaptation contributes to the field by testing modifications to existing models, such as disregarding pieces shown to be ineffective or adding ones with additional evidence. Models should be viewed as living documents, or works in progress, not as static entities.

+/-What should be considered before adapting a D&I model?

For researchers considering adapting an existing model, a number of issues are important to note. Initial identification of a D&I model to adapt should consider factors that influence the fit of a model such as the target population and/or setting (sociodemographics, geography, language, and culture) and the technology and resources needed for intervention delivery (e.g., high-speed Internet connection, media skills).

+/-What type of modifications can be made to D&I models?

Modifications that can be made without much hesitation include: wording to suit the audience, timeline (based on adaptation guides), or cultural preferences based on the population.

Adaptations that may be possible, but should be made with caution, include: substituting activities or changing the order of the steps.

Adaptations that compromise the core elements of the model should not be attempted without substantial evidence to support the adaptation. This includes changing the health communication model/theory or the health topic/behavior; deleting core elements; or putting in strategies that detract from the core elements.

As long as model adaptations do not become a weakness of the proposed study, when drastic changes are made to a model, it provides an excellent opportunity for model testing. In studies that adapt a model, adaptations should be documented and monitored so that the impact of changes on model applicability can be reported and incorporated into the literature.