Schneider, William Joel (2003-08). Transtheoretical Model of Change with couples. Doctoral Dissertation.
The Transtheoretical Model of Change is intended to be a general model of change that can be applied to many populations and domains of change. However, most of the studies that have investigated this model have focused on addiction-related topics or on individual psychotherapy. The current study explored whether this model's predictions applied to couples and their readiness to change their relationship. Data from two samples were collected. The first sample consisted of 65 volunteer couples recruited from the community. The second sample consisted of 55 couples that participated in a 9-week relationship enhancement seminar. Factor analyses of questionnaires designed to measure the stages of change and processes of change predicted by the Transtheoretical Model of Change did not produce the hypothesized factors. In general, use of change processes did not predict change in relationship satisfaction. However, there was some evidence that wives' use of change processes had more impact on relationship satisfaction than did husbands' use of change processes. Couples at higher stages of change tended to experience greater improvements in marital satisfaction than did couples at lower stages of change. Couples with partners at similar levels of readiness to change did not experience greater improvements in marital satisfaction than did couples at dissimilar levels of readiness to change. In general, couples using the processes of change that matched their stage of change did not experience greater changes in marital satisfaction. However, as predicted by the Transtheoretical Model of Change, use of consciousness raising processes was less helpful for couples at higher stages of change than for couples at lower stages of change. Reasons for the failure to support many of the claims of the Transtheoretical Model of Change are explored and suggestions for future research are provided.