and outlining of health behaviour change models
indicated that up to half of premature deaths in developed countries are caused
by specific, and undeniably avoidable, risk factors. These risk factors include
activities such as alcohol and tobacco use, unhealthy dietary habits, unsafe
sexual practices, non-adherence to medication regimes and lack of physical
activity and exercise.
factors, psychologists argue, can be targeted and reduced by behavioural-change-theory-based
models which focus on different factors that occur in behaviour. Of the many
models in existence, some commonly adopted forms include; learning
theories, social cognitive theory, theories of reasoned
action and planned behaviour, transtheoretical model of
behaviour change, the health action process approach and the BJ
Fogg model of behaviour change.
the given instance, I opted to apply the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) to my
difficulty returning to physical activity after an injury. The TTM model focuses
on the individual’s decision-making and assumes that people do not make conscious,
quick and decisive behavioural changes, but rather behavioural changes that may
be accomplished over a prolonged period in cyclical processes.
of health behaviour change models in terms of exercise behaviour
In terms of my own personal circumstances, I found
inadvertently, the TTM had been the methodology which most closely replicated
my return to physical activity. And on reflection I found useful when
evaluating my own progress and trying to keep in line with the stages to be
Stage 1 – Pre-contemplation – Here, people
do not intend to change anytime soon. Often, they are unaware that their
behaviour is problematic. Personally, I had been aware of the need to exercise
but considered it secondary to the need to recover from my injury.
Stage 2 – Contemplation – Individuals realise
that their habits may be unhealthy and could present future difficulties. They will
start to contemplate lifestyle changes. Personally, I noted total cessation of
exercise 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 began
to design an exercise schedule that would not exasperate my injury and I began
to save money for a gym membership.
Stage 4 – Action – At this point, the
individual will act in the form of implementing the plans designed in Stage 3. For
me, this involved joining a gym and implementing my exercise schedule.
Stage 5 – Maintenance– The individual
at this stage is focused on maintaining their new habits and avoiding a relapse
to the habits of old. I found this stage to be difficult in that my injury had not
dissipated even though I was really enjoying physical exercise.
6 – Termination – This stage is rarely reached. At this stage the individual
feels 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 believe
exercise ever becomes automatic. And with or without an injury it takes time
and encouragement to fit exercise into a hectic schedule.
There are several limitations of TTM. For instance,
it can be difficult to determine what stage a person may be at, at a given time
given the lack of objective criteria. There is no generally accepted timeframe
for how long one may need or spend in any given stage. The model assumes that
the subject will be logical in decision-making, which is not always the case.
The model proposes strategies to assist in public
health interventions by encouraging and advising people at various stages in
the decision-making processes involved in change. This model also prompts an
assessment of an individual’s current stage of change and accounts for relapse
in people’s decision-making process.