Theory and practice: Applying the ecological model to formative research for a WIC training program in New York State

G. Newes-Adeyi, D. L. Helitzer, L. E. Caulfield, Y. Bronner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


This article discusses the application of the ecological model to formative research in a practical setting of a training program developed for the,Child Growth Monitoring Project of the New York State WIC program. The ecological model was selected to guide the formative research because it offered a concrete framework to account for the reciprocal interaction of behavior and environment. This model describes five levels of influence on behavior: individual, interpersonal, organizational, community and policy. Because we knew from the start that the intervention would focus on training, we focused our efforts on collecting data at those ecological levels that we considered potentially amenable to change through a training program - individual (WIC providers and clients), interpersonal (provider-client interaction) and organizational (physical layout of WIC sites and sequence of activities). However, our experiences both with the training program and the post-training evaluation, using ecological theory, indicated the fallacy of failing to apply the ecological model consistently throughout the formative research. Therefore, for maximum effect when using the ecological model, it is recommended that the whole model be applied at all stages of formative research: development, implementation and evaluation. A matrix is presented for monitoring complete application of the model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-291
Number of pages9
JournalHealth education research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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