Title

Evaluating theories of health behavior change: A hierarchy of criteria applied to the transtheoretical model

Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

12-1-2008

Abstract

The most common criteria recommended by philosophers of science for evaluating theories were organised within a hierarchy ranging from the least to the most risky tests for theories of health behavior change. The hierarchy progressed across: (1) Clarity; (2) Consistency; (3) Parsimony; (4) Testable; (5) Predictive Power; (6) Explanatory Power; (7) Productivity; (8) Generalisable; (9) Integration; (10) Utility; (11) Efficacy; and (12) Impact. The hierarchy was applied to the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) as an example of a health behavior change theory. The application was from the perspective of critics and advocates of TTM. Examples of basic and applied research challenging and supporting TTM across the hierarchy of criteria are presented. The goal is to provide a model for comparing alternative theories and to evaluate progress across the hierarchy within a particular theory. As theories meet criteria at each step in the hierarchy, the research and applications they generate can have increasing impacts on the science and practice of health behavior change. © 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 International Association of Applied Psychology.

Publication Title

Applied Psychology

Volume

57

Issue

4

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