Is there utility in the transtheoretical model?

Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
British Journal of Health Psychology (Impact Factor: 2.7). 11/2008; 14(Pt 2):195-210. DOI: 10.1348/135910708X368991
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The transtheoretical model is arguably the dominant model of health behaviour change, having received unprecedented research attention, yet it has simultaneously attracted exceptional criticism. However, the criticisms have been directed almost exclusively at the stages of change, just one of fourteen components of the transtheoretical model, which may have diverted attention away from more fruitful avenues of research based on the model.
Narrative review.
The evidence would suggest some flaws in the concept of stages of change as currently articulated in the transtheoretical model. On a conceptual level, even studies incorporating the five stages of change point to a model that better fits Gollwitzer (1993) and Heckhausen's (1991) idea of a motivational phase followed by a volitional phase. Potentially the processes of change components of the transtheoretical model may actually prove the most useful, yet have been under-researched, at least experimentally. Three studies that successfully utilise the processes of change to reduce alcohol consumption, encourage smoking cessation and increase physical activity are described.
Elements of the transtheoretical model offer promise in developing effective health behaviour change interventions, but the question arises as to whether extracting these elements undermines completely the idea of a transtheoretical model.

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