The preparation phase in the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST): a systematic review and introduction of a reporting checklist

Ryan R Landoll, Sara E Vargas, Kristen B Samardzic, Madison F Clark, Kate Guastaferro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Multicomponent behavioral interventions developed using the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST) framework offer important advantages over alternative intervention development models by focusing on outcomes within constraints relevant for effective dissemination. MOST consists of three phases: preparation, optimization, and evaluation. The preparation phase is critical to establishing the foundation for the optimization and evaluation phases; thus, detailed reporting is critical to enhancing rigor and reproducibility. A systematic review of published research using the MOST framework was conducted. A structured framework was used to describe and summarize the use of MOST terminology (i.e., preparation phase and optimization objective) and the presentation of preparation work, the conceptual model, and the optimization. Fifty-eight articles were reviewed and the majority focused on either describing the methodology or presenting results of an optimization trial (n = 38, 66%). Although almost all articles identified intervention components (96%), there was considerable variability in the degree to which authors fully described other elements of MOST. In particular, there was less consistency in use of MOST terminology. Reporting on the MOST preparation phase is varied, and there is a need for increased focus on explicit articulation of key design elements and rationale of the preparation phase. The proposed checklist for reporting MOST studies would significantly advance the use of this emerging methodology and improve implementation and dissemination of MOST. Accurate reporting is essential to reproducibility and rigor of scientific trials as it ensures future research fully understands not only the methodology, but the rationale for intervention and optimization decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-303
Number of pages13
JournalTranslational Behavioral Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 16 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior Therapy
  • Checklist
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design


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