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Readiness to Quit Smoking 1

Readiness to quit smoking
behavioral science



A 45-year-old man visits his primary care physician for a routine check-up. During the consultation, the physician advises him to quit smoking due to the associated health risks. The patient acknowledges the risks but states that he enjoys smoking and doesn't think he could quit. In discussing further, the physician finds out that the patient tried to quit a few times in the past but went back to smoking. He also mentions that he feels guilty about not being able to quit. The physician wants to motivate him to make a serious attempt to quit smoking. According to the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change, which of the following stages best describes the patient's current readiness to quit smoking?


A. Pre-contemplation

B. Contemplation

C. Preparation

D. Action

E. Maintenance


B. Contemplation


The Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (also known as the Stages of Change Model) is a theory that describes how people modify a problem behavior or acquire a positive behavior. It involves five stages:

  1. Pre-contemplation: The individual is not considering change and may not be aware that a problem exists.
  2. Contemplation: The individual recognizes that a problem exists and is thinking about overcoming it but has not yet made a commitment to take action.
  3. Preparation: The individual plans to take action soon and may begin making small changes.
  4. Action: The individual is actively taking steps to change.
  5. Maintenance: The individual is working to prevent relapse and consolidate the gains attained during the action stage.

This patient is aware that smoking is problematic and has tried to quit in the past, but he is not currently taking steps to quit. He also expresses guilt about not being able to quit. This indicates that he is in the contemplation stage. He acknowledges the problem and is thinking about change but hasn't yet committed to action. The physician could use motivational interviewing techniques to help the patient move from contemplation to preparation and action.


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