Date of Award

1995

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

James O. Prochaska

Abstract

Immoderate alcohol use is prevalent on college campuses and results in high levels of negative consequences including injury, social, academic, and occupational disruption, increased levels of sexually transmitted disease, and emotional complaint. This study applied the Transtheoretical Model of Change to immoderate alcohol use in a cross-sectional study of 629 college students. This model has proven useful as a tool of investigation of and intervention on many other health related behaviors.

The Transtheoretical Model is a model of intentional behavior change that is composed of five interrelated multi-dimensional constructs. This investigation developed measures of four of these constructs. Two measurement approaches to the Stage of Change construct were investigated, an algorithmic five-item measure in Study I, and a continuous measure, the URICA-A, in Study II. This instrument is a three component, 17-item scale instrument. Cluster analysis was performed on scale scores to classify students into discrete stages. In Study III two solutions of the Decisional Balance construct were initially pursued, one having a unitary Cons component and the other have two separate Cons components. The final Temptation instrument as developed in Study IV was composed of four correlated subscales which in turn composed a second-order Temptation scale. The four subscales were labeled Positive/Social, Peer Pressure, Negative Affect, and Social Anxiety. The investigation of the Processes of Change in Study V resulted in an instrument measuring ten processes, including Self Monitoring, a process not previously investigated within the context of the Transtheoretical Model. Three Processes of Resistance were also hypothesized, measured, and integrated with the Processes of Change in a third-order hierarchical model. This represents a further elaboration of the Transtheoretical Model.

External validity evidence was examined for all measures by analyzing the relationships of the measurement scales to outcome variables including three alcohol consumption variables and a set of three scales, developed in this study, that assess the negative consequences of drinking. Strong validity evidence was generally found. The relationships of the model constructs to each other were also assessed. Model variables generally showed a clear pattern across the Stages of Change as hypothesized. Disparities between hypothesized relationships and findings were generally minor and did not challenge the applicability of the model to this behavior. These findings suggest that the structural integrity of the Transtheoretical Model is preserved in this behavioral domain. The implications of these findings to intervention design and for future research are discussed.

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