The application of the transtheoretical model to offender populations: Some critical issues

  • Casey S
  • Day A
  • Howells K
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Purpose. Over the past two decades, the transtheoretical model (TTM) of change has become perhaps the most widely used model of behaviour change in the treatment of addictive and/or problem behaviours. More recently, the stages of change component of the TTM has been adopted for use in forensic settings. This paper aims to review the application of the TTM model to offender populations. Arguments. The application of the TTM to offenders raises a number of issues regarding the process of behaviour change for offenders attending treatment programmes. It is argued that while the TTM has been designed to account for high frequency behaviour (e.g. smoking, alcohol misuse), offending behaviour may be less frequent and the process of change less cyclical. Moreover, it is suggested that the most important issue in a treatment context is the proper integration of the TTM constructs. There have been few empirical tests of this aspect of the model. Conclusion. While the TTM may have some value in explaining how rehabilitation programmes help offenders to change their behaviour, the stages of change construct is, by itself, unlikely to adequately explain the process by which offenders desist from offending. 2005 The British Psychological Society.

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