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The Theory of Planned Behavior


A 40-year-old male has been alcoholic for over 15 years, and he has the desire to withdraw from his drinking habit. For many years, the man has made it a habit take approximately five drinks of liquor on a daily basis. This discussion shall, therefore, use various models and theories of behavioral change to help create strategies for modifying the patient’s behavior. It shall also explain the process or methods that could be used to accomplish this goal, predict the length of time required, and any possible challenges.

Strategies to Assist the Patient

The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) can assist in the establishment of strategies to modify the patient’s behavior. This theory assisted with the prediction of a person’s intent to involve in a specific behavior at a particular place and time. That signifies that the most vital element of this model is behavioral intentions. These intentions are affected by the attitude concerning the probability that the habit results in an anticipated consequence and the subjective assessment of the risks ad advantages of that outcome. The theory applies to those kinds of habits that an individual can regulate through self-control. From the above, it is clear that this theory relies on both motives (intent) as well as capacity (ability to control the behavior). According to this theory, there are six aspects that denote an individual’s ability to exercise self-control over their behavior. The six aspects include attitudes, behavioral intention, subjective norms, social norms, perceived power and perceived behavioral control (Cooke, et. al., 2014). They all collectively have an influence on a person’s intentions and hence their decision to reduce their habits of drinking. Because of that reason, the strategies for modifying the patient’s behavior of excess alcohol consumption should lay more emphasis on those factors as a means of altering their intention and ultimately decreasing the levels of alcohol consumption.

Another important theory is the Transtheoretical Model of Change which is also called the Stages of Change Model. This theory stipulates that for many individuals, a change in their behavior takes place through a gradual process in which the patients moves from being indifferent, clueless or reluctant to alter their behavior to thinking about the change and finally deciding, and making preparations for the change. The stages of change as explained by this model include pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action as well as maintenance and relapse and prevention stages (Zimmerman, Olsen, & Boswort, 2000).

It, therefore, follows that process of helping the patient stop drinking excessively can be divided into stages mentioned above. During the pre-contemplations phase, the patient does not see any sense in trying to change. However, since this patient has started developing the desire to change, it is possible to move to the next phase that is the contemplations stage. The physician can employ strategies such as counseling and motivational interviewing since that will assist in changing their attitudes using the six parameters of the TPB model. The next stage is the preparation stage during which the doctor should assist the patient in trying to experiment with slight changes such as reducing the number of drinks consumed daily from five to three. Once the patient gets to the action stage, a concrete measure must be taken to ensure change. At that stage, the physician can intervene by providing cognitive-behavioral therapy. Finally, the most difficult stage for the doctor and the patient is the maintenance and relapse phase. Here, the main aim is to establish ways of assisting the patient in maintaining the new behavior and preventing relapse that is a very normal occurrence in behavioral change. Since patients feel demoralized at this stage, cognitive-behavioral interventions such as counseling and motivational interviews can make a difference.

This process might take approximately a year although that might vary depending on the person’s determination. The main challenge is relapse since some of the patients might develop withdrawal symptoms that might be quite challenging. Pressure from other external factors such as financial instability or peer pressure may also affect the patient’s changing process. Other additional interventions include interaction with people who had suffered from the same problem before and managed to change and encouraging.


The above discussion has shown that the Transtheoretical Model of Change and the Theory of Planned Behavior can be used as a strategy to help the patient in question. While the TPB model assists in changing the patient’s attitudes and assisting him in exercising self-control, the Transtheoretical Model of Change helps the patient undergo a gradual changing process. The interventions suggested include cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviews, and counseling. The duration of change might take a year although the patient’s determination might reduce the duration required. Some of the challenges include relapse and the influence of external factors such as peer pressure.

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