the Transtheoretical Model

A while ago I wrote about The Stages of Change (aka the Transtheoretical Model) in an explanation of how many vegans experience some "relapse." I said:
Most vegans get to a point where they "gave in" and ate the cheese (or the sausage or whatever). They feel guilty and wonder if they can be vegan again. These people need encouragement. Of course they can get right back up on the wagon and be vegan again! Relapses "are an inevitable part of the process," remember?

Moreover, the presence of a few ex-vegans is not necessarily a sign of our movement reversing course, as some might say, but rather is simply a normal, natural process of change wherein some relapses occur.
All of that is true, however, the Stages of Change may not be a good model for influencing people to become more compassionate and empathetic towards animals. In Change of Heart, author Nick Cooney writes:
From the late 1970s through the present, researcher James Prochaska and colleagues created and developed what they call the Transtheoretical Model, a system that analyzes how ready a person is to adopt a healthy new behavior and that provides suggestions on how to direct that person from one stage to the next. The Transtheoretical Model (TM) is used by many public-health organizations in the U.S. and abroad, particularly for providing guidance in getting patients to stop smoking, drinking, using drugs, or having unsafe sex. Despite TM’s widespread popularity, meta-analytic studies of its research have shown it to be of little use in creating behavioral change (Riemsma et al. 2003; Horowitz 2003; Bridle et al. 2005; Aveyard et al. 2006; 2009). Unfortunately, many books and non-profits continue to promote TM as an effective approach for changing behavior.
Luckily, Cooney also says that "Although the Model itself seems to be of no use, the specific stages that Prochaska identified are worth looking at as a reminder of the stages most people go through in adopting new behaviors." Therefore, my original analysis was correct. These are stages that people tend to go through when adopting a new behavior, however these stages should not be used as a guide as to how to influence change.

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