Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Wayne F. Velicer


The transtheoretical model of behavior change proposes that in an effort to change behavior people progress through a number of stages, beginning with precontemplation, through contemplation, action and maintenance. This study is an application of latent transition analysis (LTA) to movement through the stages of change for smoking cessation. LTA is an extension of latent class theory and Markov modeling that examines change over time. The sample consisted of 545 reactively recruited smokers and former smokers with a mean (±SD) age of 39.7 (12.0) years. Of the sample, 68% were female and 94.7% were white. Stage membership was assessed five times over a two year period using a stage classification algorithm.

LTA was used to compare three specified models of movement among the four stages of change over the five time periods. Model I proposes only one stage forward movement. Model II proposes both forward and backward movement of one stage only. Model III proposes both one stage forward and backward movement and allows two stage forward movement. Goodness-of-fit chi-square tests revealed that Model III represented the data best. This result indicates that both progression and regression among the stages takes place as well as two stage progression.

Examination of the probability of movement among the stages revealed three findings consistent with the transtheoretical model. First, movement through the stages is not always linear. Second, the probability of forward movement was greater than backward movement. Third, the probability of moving to adjacent stages was greater than the probability of two stage progression.



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