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Stages of Change Model (Transtheoretical Model)

The Stages of Change Model, also called the Transtheoretical Model, explains an individual's readiness to change their behavior. It describes the process of behavior change as occurring in stages. These stages include:

  • Pre-contemplation: There is no intention of taking action.
  • Contemplation: There are intentions to take action and a plan to do so in the near future.
  • Preparation: There is intention to take action and some steps have been taken.
  • Action: Behavior has been changed for a short period of time.
  • Maintenance: Behavior has been changed and continues to be maintained for the long-term.
  • Termination: There is no desire to return to prior negative behaviors.

Stages of Change Examples

  • Michigan's Healthy Workplaces Resource Guide presents guidelines for implementing a worksite wellness program. The guide includes information and resources related to the Stages of Change and the varying levels of employee readiness to change.
  • The Alliance of Black Churches Health Project implemented a self-help smoking cessation intervention called “Call it Quits.” The intervention was designed to address the Stages of Change. The short-term outcomes from the intervention were increased awareness of smoking cessation programs and increased progress along the Stages of Change.
  • CDC provides a “Talking about Fall Prevention with Your Patients” fact sheet that describes how to use the Stages of Change Model for fall prevention education.

Considerations for Implementation

The Stages of Change Model describes how an individual or organization integrates new behaviors, goals, and programs at various levels. At each stage, different intervention strategies will help individuals progress to the next stage and through the model. Individuals within a population will likely vary in their readiness to change. In addition, it is important to recognize that movement through this model is cyclical – individuals may progress to the next stage or regress to a previous stage.

The Stages of Change model can be applied to health promotion and disease prevention programs to address a range of health behaviors, populations, and settings. It may be an appropriate model for health promotion and disease prevention programs related to worksite wellness, tobacco use, weight management, medication compliance, addiction, and physical activity, among other health topics.

Resources to Learn More

Transtheoretical Model: Behavioral Change Models
Overview of Stages of Change/Transtheoretical model in health promotion setting and includes examples for each stage.
Organization(s): Boston University School of Public Health