A criterion measurement model for health behavior change

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Date of Original Version



Researchers in the field of health behavior change have traditionally relied on a univariate criterion measure to evaluate the efficacy of an intervention. Such measures have superficial face validity but suffer from a number of problems: (a) lack of precise definitions: (b) poor statistical power; and (c) a lack of meaningfulness for some aspects of the problem. As an alternative, a theoretical model is developed that attempts to define more appropriate multivariate sets of dependent variables for the study of health behavior change. The model involves three separate constructs: Positive Evaluation Strength, Negative Evaluation Strength, and Habit Strength. The pattern of change for each construct is described across four stages of change: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Action, and Maintenance. For each construct, two thresholds are proposed representing the ability of the environment to modify the construct. Four tests of the model are provided from existing data sets. First, a structural model analysis was used to test if the proposed measurement model adequately fits the data. Second, a dynamic typology approach produced profiles of change that are consistent with the model. Third, a time series analysis provided support for the assumed model. Fourth, longitudinal, five-wave panel design was employed to test if the relation between the two cognitive variables (Pros and Cons) and the behavioral measure (Habit Strength) was consistent with the model. Implications for alternative intervention strategies are discussed.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Addictive Behaviors