Stage of Change theory is the most popular stage model in health psychology today (Howard, 1999). A wide range of health behaviour has been investigated using the theory including smoking, drinking, eating habit, and illicit drug use (Belding, Iguchi, & Lamb, 1996). Understanding its function in behaviour modification highlights the success of its influence on the individual wellness. This study considers some of its effects on behaviour modification. The basic assumption of the model is that behaviour is not an event but rather a process.
A person attempting change has to go through the 5 stages although not necessarily systematic (Croyle, R. , 2005). During the Precontemplation stage, the person is unaware making no moves. The process is unconscious and yet the seeds of the will to change is already there. In the Contemplation stage, the client is thinking about it, weighing the pros and cons. He is about to decide whether he would pursue or not. During the Preparation stage, action is already intended and the client is readying the grounds for his decision to be implemented. In the Action stage, the client is actively making changes.
And in the Maintenance stage, the behaviour is changed and the person wants to keep it that way. The effect of participating in this model on individual’s wellness has been beneficial. A study by Andrew Steptoe et al. in fat reduction employing stage of change model showed increase of participation in physical activity in action and maintenance stages. Prochaska and company in their article Transtheoretical application revealed that less than 30% fat intake signify progress. This result depicts lower triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood pressure which contribute to the occurrence of hypertension.
Getting rid of it gives a sense of better health. In another study of smoking cessation program for cardiac patients, it was found out that intensive action and maintenance oriented approach was highly successful in action and maintenance stages ( Ockene, & Kristellar, 1998). An indicator of success is the reduction in the number of sticks or switching to low tar. Lesser or no nicotine intake can save a person from brain impairment and other body damages leading to a healthier life. Success to adherence depends on the person’s readiness which also provides guidelines for appropriate intervention by health practitioners (Zimmerman, et al. 2000).
Since the role of attitude, social influence, self efficacy, perceived benefits, and barriers differs on a particular stage (Prochaska et al. , 1994), assessing a particular stage of the participants is crucial for them to move from one stage to another to promote behaviour modification. Educating, follow up, and office visits are among the added actions. The important factor here is that the decisive element is the will of the individual to change. Without this, the stages of change would not materialize and be brought to a successful completion.
Although, the model creates controversy, its utilization to reach optimal health is validated with its wide application in behavioural problems. This attracted the attention of the researcher to consider the subject to study. A significant knowledge of what the model is and how it works is the secret of its success. The model not only enhances a better understanding of the participants on changing their unwanted habit but opening the eyes of health practitioners to acquire a deeper understanding of how people change and how they help people who make an effort to change (2003).