An analysis of transtheoretical stages of change in the formation of a spiritual discipline
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This study explored the degree to which the Transtheoretical Model of change (TTM) predicts the decisional balance (how pros weigh against cons), processes relied upon, and temptation response in the stages of change when the change in question is that of the development of a spiritual discipline. The TTM has been used primarily to describe behavior change in health related habit modification. The literature shows strong support for the importance of spiritual disciplines to Christianity. It also presents diversity among scholars on the degree to which spiritual growth depends on human will-power, but there is consensus that will-power does play a role. To the degree that will-power does play a roll in spiritual growth, the social sciences may offer an explanation of human motivation and the dynamics of behavior modification. The processes of change, decisional balance, and temptation response (self-efficacy) were measured to estimate the degree to which the TTM predicts these constructs on the basis of participants' self-reporting of stage by means of a short stage algorithm. A survey instrument was developed patterned after those used in previous TTM research. The study focused on 185 maintenance stage people. The statistical results showed that there are many people in this stage for whom the temptation measure was predicted by the TTM, and there were many for whom the decisional balance measure was predicted, but there are not as many people for whom both of these measures were simultaneously predicted. Few of the maintenance stage people had responses to the processes of change measure overall that were predicted by the TTM. Although the predictions of the model as a whole do not adequately represent the adoption of a spiritual discipline for maintenance stage respondents, the study does suggest that two out of the three constructs individually (not simultaneously) represent what significant numbers of Christians experience. It was also observed that seven processes of change were relied upon by those in the maintenance stage. It would appear that there are portions of the TTM that could be used to develop an instrument that would be useful in this application.