Identificationand outlining of health behaviour change models Studies have shownthat almost 50% of premature deaths in developed countries are caused byspecific, avoidable, risk factors. These risk factors include alcohol and tobaccouse, poor diet, unsafe sexual practices, non-adherence to medication regimesand lack of physical activity and exercise. Riskfactors, psychologists argue, can be targeted and reduced by behavioural-change-theory-basedmodels which focus on different factors that occur in behaviour. Of the manymodels in existence, some commonly adopted forms include; learningtheories, social cognitive theory, theories of reasonedaction and planned behaviour, transtheoretical model ofbehaviour change, the health action process approach and the BJFogg model of behaviour change. Inthe given instance, I opted to apply the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) to mydifficulty returning to physical activity after an injury. The TTM model focuseson the individual’s decision-making and assumes people do not make mindful,quick and conclusive behavioural changes, but rather behavioural changes thatmay be accomplished over a prolonged period in cyclical processes. Applicationof health behaviour change models in terms of exercise behaviour In terms of my own personal circumstances, I foundinadvertently, the TTM had been the methodology which most closely replicatedmy return to physical activity. And on reflection I found useful whenevaluating my own progress and trying to keep in line with the stages to besuccessful.
Stage 1 – Pre-contemplation – Here, peopledo not intend to change anytime soon. Often, they are unaware that theirbehaviour is problematic. Personally, I had been aware of the need to exercisebut considered it secondary to the need to recover from my injury. Stage 2 – Contemplation – Individuals realisethat their habits may be unhealthy and could present future difficulties. They willstart to contemplate lifestyle changes. Personally, I noted total cessation ofexercise was causing weight gain as well as my energy levels declining. Stage 3 – Determination – At this stage,an individual will prepare to engage in a positive change. In my case I beganto design an exercise schedule that would not exasperate my injury and I beganto save money for a gym membership.
Stage 4 – Action – At this point, theindividual will act in the form of implementing the plans designed in Stage 3. Forme, this involved joining a gym and implementing my exercise schedule. Stage 5 – Maintenance– The individualat this stage is focused on maintaining their new habits and avoiding a relapseto the habits of old.
I found this stage to be difficult in that my injury had notdissipated even though I was really enjoying physical exercise.Stage6 – Termination – This stage is rarely reached. At this stage the individualfeels that there is no risk of relapse into the previous unhealthy behaviour.In my case I did not feel that I reached this point as I do not believeexercise ever becomes automatic. And with or without an injury it takes timeand encouragement to fit exercise into a hectic schedule.
Critical analysisThere are several limitations of TTM. For instance,it can be difficult to determine what stage a person may be at, at a given timegiven the lack of objective criteria. There is no generally accepted timeframefor how long one may need or spend in any given stage. The model assumes thatthe subject will be logical in decision-making, which is not always the case. The model proposes strategies to assist in publichealth interventions by encouraging and advising people at various stages inthe decision-making processes involved in change.
This model also prompts anassessment of an individual’s current stage of change and accounts for relapsein people’s decision-making process.