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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


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
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


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

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