James O. Prochaska, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Cancer Prevention Research center at the University of Rhode Island. John C. Norcross, Ph.D., is Professor and former Chair of Psychology at the University of Scranton. Carlo C. DiClemente, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Their model for self-change has attracted attention worldwide and has been applied in programs sponsored by such organizations as the national cancer Institute and the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
Why do so many people have trouble breaking dangerous habits like smoking, overeating, and drug and alcohol abuse? According to psychologists Prochaska, Norcross and DiClemente, people must go through six stages to change a behavior: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance and termination. Step by step, they show readers how to determine what phase they're in and find an appropriate strategy for moving to the next step by using various tactics, for example, consciousness raising and rewards. The focus here is on the process of change rather than techniques. Chapter 10, ``A Changer's Manual,'' centers on specific habits, providing disturbing statistics for each as well as tips for becoming free of them. A combination of illustrative tables and case histories brings a concrete reality to the six-step program. (June)