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August 12, 2013

Essay on Behavior Change

 Behavior Change
Social psychology is concerned with the individual in his daily life. Behavior change is the area of ​​study that analyzes how the behaviors, cognition (thoughts) affect emotions or feelings of the individual and are affected by the behavior and characteristics of others, the characteristics of the situation in which individual is involved and by their own psychological and social characteristics.
The trans theoretical model of intentional behavior change explains change as a process that spreads out over time going through six stages: pre-contemplation (not ready to take action); contemplation (getting ready); preparation (ready); action (overt change); maintenance (sustained change); and termination (no risk of relapse). The progress, through the implementation of this theory, requires that specific changes processes must be brought into play namely consciousness raising (education and feedback)at the pre-contemplation stage and reinforcement and helping relationships during action.  The central question is as to how the potato couch patient can become more active applying this theory and that of health belief model.
Potato couch is a colloquial description of a sedentary lifestyle in which a person tends to sit before TV and computers more than taking pains on a playground or a jogging track.  For such a person, the pre-contemplation stage refers to the unwillingness on the part of an individual to carry out behavior change. Usually, couch potato patients, in this stage, are unaware of the outcomes of their sedentary lifestyle hence do not pay heed to its importance. The individual is either uninformed or under informed, to be precise.  The fact of the matter is that the traditional methods remain largely inefficient to meet the needs of couch potato patient. In order to initiate the journey of behavior, the patients need be informed about the devastating outcome of his or her current lifestyle.
The second phase contemplation is a stage when an individual realizes the need for change. The model also involves a gamut of independent variables, the processes of change, and a series of outcome measures, including the decisive balance and the temptation scales. The Processes of Change are ten cognitive and behavior activities that facilitate change.
Self-reevaluation is a combination of cognitive and effective assessments of one's self-image with and without a particular unhealthy habit, such as one's image as a couch potato or an active person. Value clarification, healthy role models, imagery should be made the most of as these are the techniques that can inspire a couch potato patient to action.
Stimulus control eliminates cues for unhealthy habits including prompts for healthier alternatives. Avoidance, environmental re-engineering, and self-help groups can give an impetus for a support necessary for change while minimizing the risks of relapse at the same time. Through this technique, the couch potato individual will be told about the negative influences of his habits as watching TV.
Planning parking lots with a two-minute walk to the office and placing art exhibited in stairwells are examples of reengineering that can motivate the individual to do more exercise. Many fitness experts concede to the fact that running is one of the best exercises that an individual can do to materialize the process of behavior change.
Now like all exercise, running has merits and demerits as well. It creates a lot of stain on the knees and leg muscles. When an individual decides to make an effort, he or she should be told to take it easy. The slow progression is necessary in order to achieve far-reaching positive effects of the behavior change.
Helping Relationships combine caring, trust, openness and acceptance as well as support for the healthy behavior change. Rapport building, a therapeutic alliance, counselor calls and buddy systems can be sources of social support.
In short, it must be kept in mind that behavior change is a longer process since there is a sequence of stages and it is incumbent on the health population programs to assist the couch potato patients as they make progress over the time.
These stages are both stable and open to change. The initiatives of an individual can inspire change by increasing the understanding of the pros and reducing the value of the cons.  It must also be kept in view that majority of the couch potato patients are not prepared for action due to unnecessary use of the traditional programs.  It is necessary to help couch patients set realistic goals and a smooth transition towards the next phase. This is an essential factor that will facilitate the change process.
The Transtheoretical Model can facilitate an analysis of the mediated mechanisms. Interventions are likely to be deferentially effective. Given the multiple constructs and clearly defined relationships, the model can facilitate a process analysis and guide the modification and improvement of the intervention. For example, an analysis of the patterns of transition from one stage to another can determine if the intervention was more successful with individuals in one stage and not with individuals in another stage. Likewise, an analysis of process use can determine if the interventions were more successful in activating the use of some processes.
The Transtheoretical Model can ensure a more viable assessment of outcome. Interventions must be evaluated in terms of their impact, i.e., the recruitment rate times the efficacy. For example, a TV watching cessation intervention could have a very high efficacy rate but a very low recruitment rate. This otherwise effective intervention would have very little impact on TV watching rates in the population.
The person considers that the behavior is the image she has of itself and he respects his personal principles. The emotional reaction of the person in respect of behavior is more positive than negative.  The person is confident that he or she can adopt the behavior in different circumstances (It is perceived as being an effective impetus enough to adopt the behavior). The first three conditions are deemed "necessary and sufficient" to adopt a behavior. The other five have an effect on the intensity and direction of intention.(Harmon, 1999)
All theories of attitudes, also known theories of cognitive consistency, involve the concept of homeostasis, that is to say the freedom of living things to maintain or restore some psychological or physiological constants that they may be the variations of the external environment. These theories share the premise with the principle of consistency raises the coherence as a mechanism for organizing the first: the individual is more satisfied with the consistency with the inconsistency. It should be noted that the individual forms an open system whose purpose is to maintain consistency as much as possible (also known as the balance or equilibrium).
The theory of cognitive dissonance considers two elements of cognition (perception, propositional attitudes or behavior) are related or not (a relevant connection connects or not). Two cognitions are consonant is (or consistent) or dissonant (inconsistent). They are called consonant if one leads or supports the other. Conversely, two cognition are dissonant if one supports the opposite result or the other. The basic assumption of this theory states that this dissonance produces tension in the subject that inspires them to change. The existence of dissonance immerses the subject in an uncomfortable state so that it motivates him to reduce this dissonance. The dissonance is more intense, more psychological discomfort that is stronger and more pressure is needed to reduce dissonance. Dissonance can be reduced by eliminating or reducing the importance of dissonant cognition, adding or increasing the importance of consonant cognition.
We therefore agree with Festinger that how people define what they do, what they think about their actions and leading them to change their minds and thus change their way of acting is the main unit measure of change or resistance to change.(Tavris, 2007)

Cooper, J. (2007). Cognitive dissonance: 50 years of a classic theory. London: Sage publications.

Harmon-Jones, E., & J. Mills. (Eds.) (1999). Cognitive Dissonance: Progress on a Pivotal Theory in Social Psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Tavris, C.; Aronson, E. (2007). Mistakes were made (but not by me): Why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts. Orlando, FL: Harcourt.


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