Applying the Transtheoretical Model of Behavioral Change to Establish Physical Activity Habits

Colin G. Pennington


The Transtheoretical Model is an integrative model of behavior change developed in response to increasing theoretical diversity within psychotherapy. Since its conception, the model has been applied to a variety of behavior change contexts such as substance abuse, diet, and exercise.  PURPOSE: to review and summarize the literature relative to applications of the Transtheoretical Model in exercise interventions, and to provide considerations for health professionals while using the Transtheoretical Model in their practice. METHODS: The components of the Transtheoretical Model of behavior change are parsed and analyzed to review their function and role in the model. In addition, the model is reviewed to determine the effectiveness of applying the Transtheoretical Model in conjunction to interventions aimed at increasing physical activity behavior. RESULTS: In general, results support the application of Transtheoretical Model for physical activity behavioral change, but not unconditionally. Beyond highlighting results of studies applying the Transtheoretical Model, implications and considerations for interventions using the models are also detailed.  CONCLUSION: When acknowledging the multidimensional nature of the model, it is important to demonstrate a good understanding of how the various dimensions relate to one another and recognize how these relationships will influence intervention development.

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