Universiteit Leiden

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Linda Breeman

Assistant professor

Dr. L.D. Breeman
+31 71 527 2727

Linda Breeman’s research focuses on promoting health behaviour and lifestyle changes, specializing in (eHealth) intervention development and intervention implementation in complex systems.

More information about Linda Breeman

Research on Health Behaviour Change

Promoting a healthier lifestyle is crucial for improving overall health and well-being and thereby a more fulfilling life. For our society, promoting a healthier lifestyle is vital to reduce the global burden of chronic diseases and to alleviate the economic strain on healthcare systems. Linda Breeman’s research aims to facilitate the development and enhancement of (e)Health innovations to improve health behaviour change and maintenance, and the quality of health care. She is passionate about working on clinical questions that arise from health care practice and translating these findings into clear and realistic intervention recommendations and their implementation into complex systems. Specifically, she works on the following research themes.

Lifestyle and health behaviour change maintenance

The main focus of Linda’s research is on the sustained maintenance of health behaviour change. While initiating a healthier lifestyle, such as increasing your daily step count, may not pose significant challenges initially, the real difficulty lies in preserving these positive changes over the long term. A prerequisite of sustainable lifestyle change is the seamless integration of the new behaviour into a person’s home and social environment, effectively making them a habitual part of daily life. Linda studies this process specifically in cardiovascular patients, who learn about healthier behaviours during cardiac rehabilitation and now need to implement and maintain these changes at home. She is particularly interested in studying adherence effects; aiming to understand why some patients adhere to the program and use online interventions while others exhibit less commitment.

Development of eHealth interventions: a user-centred design approach

Over the years, Linda has been involved in the development and evaluation of multiple eHealth interventions. These include, for example, applications designed to assist parents  of infants with crying, sleeping, and feeding problems, as well as an app aimed to boost step counts through use of rewards and deposit contracts. However, her main focus centres on the BENEFIT lifestyle intervention program, where she specialized in a user-centred design approach, following the CeHRes roadmap for eHealth development. Lifestyle intervention programs can only consolidate behaviour change if they simultaneously target both individual factors (e.g., capabilities, motivation) and contextual factors (e.g., environmental reinforcement). Therefore, together with PhD-students, she employed co-creation methods (e.g., usability testing techniques like heuristics evaluation and think-aloud sessions) to take into account the complex context and needs of various stakeholders (health care professionals, patients, entrepreneurs) to help develop the BENEFIT program. This program utilizes an advanced digital platform that allows access to a variety of evidence-based lifestyle interventions, personal coaching, smart technology and an integrated loyalty system that rewards cardiovascular patients for the time and energy spent on healthy lifestyle activities at home. As the research coordinator of the BENEFIT program, she now examines the effects of the program directly after cardiac rehabilitation and at one year follow-up.

Intervention implementation

Linda's interest extends to intervention implementation, providing her with an opportunity to apply her effective project management skills. She aims to enhance the sustainable adoption of developed interventions through co-creation processes, by collaboratively devising an implementation strategy with all stakeholders involved. She likes the challenge of collaborating in multidisciplinary teams to successfully improve implementation and intervention uptake in health care practice. For example, in the BENEFIT project, she aimed to boost healthcare providers' involvement, motivation, and dedication to expedite implementation and optimize patient enrolment. Together with a PhD student, she now investigates the implementation process of the BENEFIT program through in-depth interviews with key stakeholders to identify encountered barriers and facilitators.

Short CV

Linda Breeman is an Assistant Professor in health behavior change at the Health Medical and Neuropsychology unit at Leiden University.  Since 2019, she is the research coordinator and project manager of the BENEFIT program, a public-private partnership consisting of medical specialists, academics and patients who have joined forces to make healthy living rewarding and to bridge the gap between healthcare and the living environment in a responsible and inspiring way. Since 2022, she is also one of the project leaders of the new ‘National Network: Healthy Living in a Healthy Environment’ (in Dutch: ‘Landelijk Netwerk: Gezond Leven in een Gezonde Omgeving’). The objective of this network is to foster a healthier society, recognizing that the effectiveness of preventive interventions lies in their sustainable integration into the broader system. Linda Breeman has obtained her PhD in 2015 at the Erasmus Medical Centre. Before she came to Leiden University, she worked at Utrecht University (2015-2019) and Warwick University, England (2014-2015).

Relevant Links

Assistant professor

  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Instituut Psychologie
  • Gezondheids, Medische- Neuropsychologie

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room number 2A22



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