Our intervention research program is focused on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)-based and technologically diverse interventions to achieve healthy behavior change, using website, smartphone app, and telephone methods.

By offering many different innovative telehealth choices, we hope to enable different people to find the program that works best for them, whether it is to quit smoking or lose weight. Our research designs programs that help people recognize and alter behavior patterns associated with addiction, increase willingness to experience physical cravings, emotions, and thoughts, and make values-guided committed behavior changes.  

We have also been known as the Tobacco & Health Behavior Science Research Group (THBSRG) or Behavioral Health Studies, but have chosen Health And Behavioral Innovations in Technology (HABIT) to show our focus on using technology to help people break addictions and change behaviors.

Connect with HABIT Research on Facebook

Current Research Projects

Principal Investigator: Jonathan Bricker, PhD; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Creating better smartphone application programs for helping adults quit smoking

  • Compares two quit-smoking smartphone apps: newly designed ACT-based iCanQuit app vs standard US Clinical Practice Guidelines QuitGuide app.
  • In the earlier pilot trial, iCanQuit participants had higher engagement and satisfaction, and higher quit rates than QuitGuide.
  • Completed recruitment of 2503 adult smokers.

FundingNational Institutes of Health (NIH) National Cancer Institute (NCI) 5-year R01

Principal Investigator: Jonathan Bricker, PhD; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Creating a new smartphone application program to help cancer patients quit smoking

  • Partnered with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) to develop a new smartphone app to improve tobacco cessation in cancer patients, based on the successes of our iCanQuit and SmartQuit cessation apps.
  • Completed recruitment of 66 adult cancer patients for the pilot trial of the application, with the help of the SCCA clinical network.

Funding: CVS Health Foundation
Recruitment website:


Principal Investigator: Jonathan Bricker, PhD; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Aim: Validating and improving online smoking cessation programs

  • Tested two web-based programs to assess their efficacy and usability: site (most-visited quit smoking website in the US) or to our ACT-based site.
  • Results show that quit rates for WebQuit and were more than twice as high as quit rates for other cessation website or telephone counseling interventions.

FundingNIH NCI 5-year R01


Principal Investigator: Jonathan Bricker, PhD; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center)
Aim: Improving the effectiveness of smoking cessation telephone quitlines programs

  • Determine whether phone-delivered ACT has promise to improve quit rates compared to the current phone-delivered standard of care in smoking cessation quitlines.
  • Working with quitlines in South Carolina and Louisiana, the study enrolled 1275 participants to examine quit rates, meditational processes, and implementation outcomes.

FundingNIH National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) 5-year R01

welnes graphic

Principal Investigator: Jonathan Bricker, PhD; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Aim: Creating an innovative and effective new telephone weight loss program

  • Determine whether phone-delivered ACT has promise to improve weight loss compared to a phone-delivered standard intervention.
  • The pilot study enrolled 105 participants to examine feasibility, adherence, and weight loss outcomes.

Funding: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Principal Investigator: Jonathan Bricker, PhD; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Aim: Creating and testing a new program to help people quit smoking

  • Determine whether a chatbot has promise to help people quit smoking.
  • The pilot study enrolled 425 adult smokers to examine feasibility, adherence, and smoking cessation outcomes.

Funding: Fred Hutchinson NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG)
Recruitment website:

Mentoring Projects

fred hutch

Principal Investigator: Noreen Watson, PhD; Sponsor: Jonathan Bricker, PhD; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Developing a web-based smoking intervention for socially anxious smokers
Individuals with high levels of social anxiety are at least 2 times more likely to smoke cigarettes and are less likely to quit. The goal of this project is to design and build a targeted web-based smoking intervention for socially anxious smokers grounded in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT). The intervention, called MyWebQuit, is being developed using clinical expertise, findings from previous research, and various user-experience research methodologies such as qualitative interview, usability studies, and diary studies. This will be the first intervention specifically designed to address the needs of socially anxious smokers.
FundingNIH NIDA F-32

Mind study

Prinicpal Investigator: Jonathan Bricker, PhD; Co-Investigator: Vasundhara Sridharan, MS; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Aim: Promoting a growth mindset to improve engagement and quit smoking success rates
This dissertation project explores the relationship between smokers’ mindsets towards addiction (specifically fixed vs. growth mindset) and their quitting smoking. Earlier research has shown that smokers with a fixed mindset (belief that addiction is permanent) have also shown lower confidence, motivation and commitment to quitting. In a new trial titled Mindset Intervention for Nicotine Dependence (MIND), we hope to demonstrate how an intervention aimed at promoting a growth mindset of addiction (belief that addiction can change) is beneficial for improving engagement and success with a quit-smoking program.
: HutchUnited

Collaboration Projects

WebQuit Plus

Principal Investigator: Jaimee Heffner, PhD; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Description: The aim of this study is to determine whether individual ACT counseling has promise to improve quit rates among smokers with bipolar disorder. The study examines feasibility, quit rates, and implementation outcomes.

Brief ACT for HIV-infected At-Risk Drinkers

Principal Investigator: Sarah Woolf-King, PhD; Syracuse University
: The overall objective of this study is to develop and pilot test a brief ACT intervention for HIV-infected at-risk drinkers. We believe that skills learned in the resulting intervention will decrease alcohol use, improve ART adherence, and increase acceptance—the active process of fully experiencing emotions, thoughts and/or memories while still behaving effectively—a known mechanism of change.
FundingNIH National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Couple Communication in Cancer

Principal Investigator: Shelby Langer, PhD; Arizona State University
Description: This project aims to identify how communicative processes are linked to cancer patient and partner outcomes. The study is testing two separate models (the social-cognitive processing and relationship intimacy models) to see which better explains the psychological and relationship adjustment of couples during cancer treatment. The multi-method approach includes laboratory verbal and non-verbal communication scoring of interactions and daily mobile app-based ecological momentary assessment of couples’ dyadic communication. Assessments will delineate mediators (how they work), moderators (for whom they work), and for which outcomes they are most predictive. The goal is to create a new integrated model combining key components of both models to identify the optimal integrated model for how communication between couples in cancer relates to cancer outcomes. We will use this model to design evidenced-based couples’ interventions.

       A Web-Based Tobacco Cessation Treatment for Veterans with Mental Health Disorders

            Principal Investigator: Megan Kelly, PhD; Bedford Veteran's Association (VA)
            Description: This project will adapt an existing, effective, and targeted web-based tobacco cessation intervention for Veterans with mental health disorders and optimize this intervention            via iterative usability testing. Results from this pilot project will inform the development of a Merit application to conduct a randomized clinical trial of Vet WebQuit vs.


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