Williams, L.M., Pines, A., Goldstein-Piekarski, A.N., Rosas, L.G., Kullar, M., Sacchet, M.D., Gevaert, O., Bailenson, J.N., Lavori, P.W., Dagum, P., Wandell, B., Correa, C., Greenleaf, W., Suppes, T., Perry, L.M., Smyth, J.M., Lewis, M.A., Venditti, E.M., Snowden, M., Simmons, J.M., Ma, J. (2017). The ENGAGE study: Integrating neuroimaging, virtual reality and smartphone sensing to understand self-regulation for managing depression and obesity in a precision medicine model, Behaviour Research and Therapy, doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2017.09.012
Precision medicine models for personalizing achieving sustained behavior change are largely outside of current clinical practice. Yet, changing self-regulatory behaviors is fundamental to the self-management of complex lifestyle-related chronic conditions such as depression and obesity – two top contributors to the global burden of disease and disability. To optimize treatments and address these burdens, behavior change and self-regulation must be better understood in relation to their neurobiological underpinnings. Here, we present the conceptual framework and protocol for a novel study, “Engaging self-regulation targets to understand the mechanisms of behavior change and improve mood and weight outcomes (ENGAGE)”. The ENGAGE study integrates neuroscience with behavioral science to better understand the self-regulation related mechanisms of behavior change for improving mood and weight outcomes among adults with comorbid depression and obesity. We collect assays of three self-regulation targets (emotion, cognition, and self-reflection) in multiple settings: neuroimaging and behavioral lab-based measures, virtual reality, and passive smartphone sampling. By connecting human neuroscience and behavioral science in this manner within the ENGAGE study, we develop a prototype for elucidating the underlying self-regulation mechanisms of behavior change outcomes and their application in optimizing intervention strategies for multiple chronic diseases.