The Ohio State University
Although I am generally healthy, several years ago I developed cardiac arrhythmias. After a couple hospitalizations, a few cardioversions and ablations, and several medications I decided I wanted and needed to be more engaged in in the management of my own health. During these encounters, I developed a desire to avoid hospitalizations, procedures and medications whenever possible. I began to modify my diet, incorporate exercise and alternative therapies into my regular routines, and manage my stress with activities known to be effective for me. I dramatically reduced my alcohol and caffeine consumption, began practicing yoga, had regular adjustments by a chiropractor and took at least one small vacation trip a month. Upon reflection of this time, I can identify components of the Self-Determination Theory, as it was primarily intrinsic motivation that inspired my behavioral changes. I achieved great success. I decreased the frequency of my arrhythmias from a sometimes weekly occurrence to eventually occur only a couple times a year.
Despite success, my commitment to my health maintenance has waxed and waned over the years. As I transitioned into new employment and now while taking graduate courses I sense fluctuations in my efforts to maintain my optimal health and have had additional health complications. With consideration for this I am also aware of some components of the Trans-Theoretical model, where individuals progress through a series of changes. This model suggests that the current stage of the individual should be considered before implementing interventions. Despite this concept, some studies have not linked the effectiveness or benefits to matching interventions to stages (Aveyard, Massey, Parsons, Manaseki, & Griffin, 2008). Yet, I believe I was most effective at achieving my goals when I select interventions based on which stage I perceive myself to be in. For example, I tend to inconsistently take action when I am in the contemplation stage but I am more likely to take action when I am in the preparation stage and have make plans and scheduled activities.
I don’t think I can confidently narrow my behavior patterns to one theory. I agonized over determining which of the theories discussed is most true for me and then was relieved when I read that integrating two motivational theories in physical activity research is feasible (Sweet, Fortier, Strachan, & Blanchard, 2012). I think this concept is most logical to me, that more than one theory has the potential to have an impact; that individuals, groups and researchers should consider the dynamics of behavior and refrain from seeing one, simple solution. While we know theoretical frameworks provide a meaningful guide to approximately implement, analyze, and evaluate future studies (Angeles, Dolovich, Kaczorowski, & Thabane, (2014), we can also conclude that more studies are needed to enhance our understanding of behavioral modification.
Aveyard, P., Massey, L., Parsons, A., Manaseki, S., & Griffin, C. (2008). The effect of trans-theoretical model based interventions on smoking cessation. Social Science & Medicine, 68, 397-403.
Angeles, R., Dolovich, L., Kaczorowski, N., & Thabane, L. (2014). Developing a theoretical framework for complex community based interventions. Health Promotion Practice, 15, 100-108.
Sweet, S. N., Fortier, M. S., Strachan, S. M., & Blanchard, C. M. (2012). Testing and integrating self-determination theory and self-efficacy theory in a physical activity context. Canadian Psychology, 53 (4), 319-327.
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