The process of smoking cessation: an analysis of precontemplation, contemplation, and preparation stages of change.
Traditionally smoking cessation studies use smoker and nonsmoker categories almost exclusively to represent individuals quitting smoking. This study tested the transtheoretical model of change that posits a series of stages through which smokers move as they successfully change the smoking habit. Subjects in precontemplation (n = 166), contemplation (n = 794), and preparation (n = 506) stages of change were compared on smoking history, 10 processes of change, pretest self-efficacy, and decisional balance, as well as 1-month and 6-month cessation activity. Results strongly support the stages of change model. All groups were similar on smoking history but differed dramatically on current cessation activity. Stage differences predicted attempts to quit smoking and cessation success at 1- and 6-month follow-up. Implications for recruitment, intervention, and research are discussed.