Interventions to break and create consumer habits

B Verplanken, W Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

785 Citations (SciVal)


Interventions to change everyday behaviors often attempt to change people's beliefs and intentions. As we explain, these interventions are unlikely to be an effective means to change behaviors that people have repeated into habits. Successful habit change interventions involve disrupting the environmental factors that automatically cue habit performance. We propose two potential habit change interventions. Downstream plus interventions provide informational input at points when habits are vulnerable to change, such as when people are undergoing naturally-occurring changes in performance environments for many everyday actions (e.g., moving house, changing jobs). Upstream interventions occur prior to habit performance and disrupt old environmental cues and establish new ones. As we explain, policy interventions can be oriented not only to the change established habits but also to the acquisition and maintenance of new behaviors through the formation of new habits. [2005 Impact Factor: 1.158]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-103
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Public Policy and Marketing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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