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Stages of change

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Stages of change refer to the points in the process of change that help monitor how far people have moved in changing their behavior.

In health psychologyEdit

The transtheoretical model in health psychology assesses an individual's readiness to act on a new healthier behavior, and provides strategies, or processes of change to guide the individual through the stages of change to action and maintenance


Stages of changeEdit

In the Transtheoretical Model, change is a "process involving progress through a series of stages":[1]

  • Precontemplation – "people are not intending to take action in the foreseeable future, and are most likely unaware that their behaviour is problematic"
  • Contemplation – "people are beginning to recognize that their behaviour is problematic, and start to look at the pros and cons of their continued actions "
  • Preparation – "people are intending to take action in the immediate future, and may begin taking small steps towards change"[nb 1]
  • Action – "people have made specific overt modifications in their life style, and positive change has occurred"
  • Maintenance – "people are working to prevent relapse," a stage which can last indefinitely"
  • Termination – "individuals have zero temptation and 100% self-efficacy... they are sure they will not return to their old unhealthy habit as a way of coping"[nb 2]

In addition, the researchers conceptualized "relapse" (recycling) which is not a stage in itself but rather the "return from action or maintenance to an earlier stage."[1][nb 3]

Stages

Stage detailsEdit

Stage 1: Precontemplation (Not Ready) People at this stage do not intend to start the healthy behavior in the near future (within 6 months), and may be unaware of the need to change. People here learn more about healthy behavior: they are encouraged to think about the Pros of changing their behavior and to feel emotions about the effects of their negative behavior on others.

Precontemplators typically underestimate the Pros of changing, overestimate the Cons, and often are not aware of making such mistakes. These individuals are encouraged to become more mindful of their decision making and more conscious of the multiple benefits of changing an unhealthy behavior.

Stage 2: Contemplation (Getting Ready) At this stage, participants are intending to start the healthy behavior within the next 6 months. While they are usually now more aware of the Pros of changing, their Cons are about equal to their Pros. This ambivalence about changing can cause them to keep putting off taking action.

People here learn about the kind of person they could be if they changed their behavior and learned more from people who behave in healthy ways. They’re encouraged to work at reducing the Cons of changing their behavior.

Stage 3: Preparation (Ready) People at this stage are ready to start taking action within the next 30 days. They take small steps that they believe can help them make the healthy behavior a part of their lives. For example, they tell their friends and family that they want to change their behavior.

People in this stage are encouraged to seek support from friends they trust, tell people about their plan to change the way the act, and think about how they would feel if they behaved in a healthier way. Their number one concern is—when they act, will they fail? They learn that the better prepared they are the more likely they are to keep progressing.

Stage 4: Action People at this stage have changed their behavior within the last 6 months, and need to work hard to keep moving ahead. These participants need to learn how to strengthen their commitments to change and to fight urges to slip back.

People in this stage are taught techniques for keeping up their commitments such as substituting activities related to the unhealthy behavior with positive ones, rewarding themselves for taking steps toward changing, and avoiding people and situations that tempt them to behave in unhealthy ways.

Stage 5: Maintenance People at this stage changed their behavior more than 6 months ago. It is important for people in this stage to be aware of situations that may tempt them to slip back into doing the unhealthy behavior—particularly stressful situations.

It is recommended that people in this stage seek support from and talk with people whom they trust, spend time with people who behave in healthy ways, and remember to engage in alternative activities to cope with stress instead of relying on unhealthy behavior.

In health psychologyEdit

The transtheoretical model in health psychology assesses an individual's readiness to act on a new healthier behavior, and provides strategies, or processes of change to guide the individual through the stages of change to action and maintenance


See alsoEdit


ReferencesEdit

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