Date of Award

1984

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

James O. Prochaska

Abstract

To determine empirically whether the comprehensiveness of the transtheoretical model of change (Prochaska, 1979) would benefit by the inclusion of personality and systems variables, 266 volunteers who had either quit smoking cigarettes in the recent past or were considering quitting in the near future completed the Activity Vector Analysis (AVA) and the Life Experiences Survey (LES), along with a Demographic and Smoking History Questionnaire. One-hundred-forty-one volunteers were self-changers, while 87 were attempting to change with the help of therapy. Six months later, subjects were asked to complete the first two instruments again, along with a Follow-up Questionnaire.

It was hypothesized that the outcome of attempts of alter smoking behavior would be a function of a behavior-specific self-concept, i.e. how Ss view themselves in their role as a “smoker” or “non-smoker” and secondly, that personality variables would predict the outcome of attempts to change smoking behavior. ln regard to systems variables, it was hypothesized that life-event changes would be related to smoking cessation.

Some support was found for accepting the first hypothesis, namely: (l) contemplators in both groups exhibited a higher congruence between basic self-concept and role as smoker than did the recent quitters; (2) the recent quitters in the self-change group exhibited a higher congruence between basic self-concept and the role of non-smoker than did the self-change contemplators; and (3) the therapy subjects exhibited a significantly higher level of anxiety than did the self-changers on the non-smoker AVA pattern shapes. No support was found for the second and third hypotheses.

Among the results which were not predicted but which appear to be meaningful was the finding that therapy subjects experienced more negative life changes and exhibited a higher level of anxiety. This finding may improve researchers' ability to differentiate people who change on their own from those who seek professional help. Another finding suggests that external events are important in moving a person from the contemplation stage into active change, while internal variables become more salient in the maintenance stage.

It is suggested that a cei1ing effect with the AVA and a floor effect with the LES resulted in relatively little differentiation among the groups. Directions for future research are explored.

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