Capturing the complexity of evaluations of health promotion interventions – a scoping review.

  • Ania Kania University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine Department of Community Health Sciences
  • Alka B. Patel
  • Amrita Roy
  • Gregory S. Yelland
  • Duyen Thi Kim Nguyen
  • Marja J. Verhoef


Context: Evaluation designs that can capture the complexity of health promotion (HP) interventions are needed. Objective: To assess if such evaluations use a Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) perspective. Methods: A scoping review of evaluations of HP interventions concerning alcohol and tobacco use in the peer reviewed (PR) and grey literature (GL). We developed indicator questions to assess CAS aspects. Results: None of the 45 PR and 9 GL evaluations reviewed explicitly used a CAS perspective; however most indirectly assessed complexity aspects. Significance: Our indicator questions are a step towards addressing the challenges of the practical application of a CAS perspective.