Richert, J and Schuz, N and Schuz, B, Stages of health behavior change in mindsets: a latent class approach, Health Psychology, 32, (3) pp. 273-282. ISSN 0278-6133 (2013) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2012 American Psychological Association
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0028915
Objective: Stage theories of health behavior are popular and of high practical relevance. Tests of the
validity of these theories provide limited evidence because of validity and reliability problems. This study
provides a bottom-up approach to identify behavioral stages from examining differences in underlying
mindsets. We examine the concurrent validity of a latent-class-based approach and a commonly used
stage-algorithm based on self-reports about intentions and behavior in order to identify possible strengths
and shortcomings of previously used approaches.
Methods: Social– cognitive variables and individuals’
stages were assessed in a sample of 2,219 internet users. Latent class analysis (LCA) was used to identify
distinct groups with similar patterns of social– cognitive predictors. Convergent validity of the LCA
solution and stage algorithms was tested by examining adjusted standardized residuals.
LCA identified four distinct profiles—not intending to change, intending to change (no action), intending
to change with action, and maintaining. Convergent validity with a stage algorithm was low, in particular
in the nonintending and maintaining stages.
Conclusion: Stages as assigned by the stage-algorithm did
not correspond well with the extracted mindsets: This indicates that commonly used stage-algorithms
might not be effective in assigning individuals to stages that represent mindsets, undermining the
possibility for stage-matched interventions.
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