ABSTRACT

The ability to adapt and change is central to resilient growth and development, and this chapter takes a broad look at the psychological principles and processes that have been shown to facilitate behaviour-change. It begins by drawing on findings from field of motivational interviewing, which show that people typically make a commitment to change when they perceive it as something that is important, achievable and desirable. It explains how these perceptions create a state of internal motivation associated with commitment and why behaviour-change that results from external coercion, rarely leads to change that is meaningful and lasting. Moving forward, the text describes how the decision to engage in health-related change is heavily influenced by individual beliefs about severity and susceptibility and it explains that perceived control frequently acts as an overarching factor in major decision-making processes. In addition, the text shows that other people’s beliefs, norms and attitudes also play a significant in determining whether people engage in behaviour change and whether such change is sustained. Likewise, it explains why expressed intentions have greater predictive value than expressed attitudes and attention is drawn to the constraining influence of negative, cultural norms, such as machoism. The text then moves to describe the Stages of Change Model, which is commonly used by therapist and counsellors to determine where clients are in the five stages of change. Following this, it draws attention to the importance of psychological factors, such as self-efficacy in facilitating behaviour-change and it explains how appropriate goal-setting can enhance a person’s sense of mastery and control. The chapter concludes by emphasising the importance of meaning-making and active-listening at a grass roots level together with the need to promote the use of language that reflects resilience rather than powerlessness and dependence.