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Developing agent-based models of complex health behaviour

Badham, Jennifer; Chattoe-Brown, Edmund; Gilbert, Nigel; Chalabi, Zaid; Kee, Frank; Hunter, Ruth F.

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Edmund Chattoe-Brown

Nigel Gilbert

Zaid Chalabi

Frank Kee

Ruth F. Hunter


Managing non-communicable diseases requires policy makers to adopt a whole systems perspective that adequately represents the complex causal architecture of human behaviour. Agent-based modelling is a computational method to understand the behaviour of complex systems by simulating the actions of entities within the system, including the way these individuals influence and are influenced by their physical and social environment. The potential benefits of this method have led to several calls for greater use in public health research. We discuss three challenges facing potential modellers: model specification, obtaining required data, and developing good practices. We also present steps to assist researchers to meet these challenges and implement their agent-based model.


Badham, J., Chattoe-Brown, E., Gilbert, N., Chalabi, Z., Kee, F., & Hunter, R. F. (2018). Developing agent-based models of complex health behaviour. Health & Place, 54, 170-177.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 29, 2018
Online Publication Date Oct 2, 2018
Publication Date 2018-11
Deposit Date Sep 29, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 29, 2021
Journal Health & Place
Print ISSN 1353-8292
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 54
Pages 170-177


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