Analysing N-of-1 observational data in health psychology and behavioural medicine: A 10-step SPSS tutorial for beginners

Suzanne McDonald*, Rute Vieira, Derek W. Johnston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Background: N-of-1 observational studies can be used to describe natural intra-individual changes in health-related behaviours or symptoms over time, to test behavioural theories and to develop highly personalised health interventions. To date, N-of-1 observational methods have been under-used in health psychology and behavioural medicine. One reason for this may be the perceived complexity of statistical analysis of N-of-1 data.

Objective: This tutorial paper describes a 10-step procedure for the analysis of N-of-1 observational data using dynamic regression modelling in SPSS for researchers, students and clinicians who are new to this area. The 10-step procedure is illustrated using real data from an N-of-1 observational study exploring the relationship between pain and physical activity.

Conclusion: The availability of a user-friendly and robust statistical technique for the analysis of N-of-1 data using SPSS may foster increased awareness, knowledge and skills and establish N-of-1 designs as a useful methodological tool in health psychology and behavioural medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-54
Number of pages23
JournalHealth Psychology and Behavioral Medicine
Issue number1
Early online date22 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020



  • N-of-1
  • single-case study
  • observational
  • statistical analysis
  • dynamic regression modelling

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