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The transtheoretical model and substance dependence: theoretical and practical aspects.



This paper aims to present and discuss the Transtheoretical Model and its importance for the treatment of substance abuse disorders.


A literature review was made based on articles from the last 10 years in substance use with human subjects found in PubMed (Medline) and the Scientific Electronic Library Online, as well as on the main books written by the creators of the model. From the initial collection of articles related to the Transtheoretical Model, the University of Rhode Island Assessment and substance abuse, those related to other health conditions were excluded. Although articles related to hospitalization were also excluded, as were those related to the Minnesota Model, treatment proposals were included.


Although the TTM has been studied for over 20 years, new concerns regarding the initial idea continue to arise. Such concerns include the cross-sectional design of studies employing the model, as well as the prescriptive versus descriptive point of view.


The review of the Transtheoretical Model brought intentional behavior change to light, which could broaden the understanding of addictive behaviors. Together with its concepts of processes and stages of change, the Transtheoretical Model provides professionals with the idea that the effectiveness of therapy is dependent upon the capability of the therapist to match the technique to the current motivational stage of the patient in the process of change. This demonstrates the importance of identifying the stage of change of the patient when they present for treatment. Here, we describe the principal elements of the Transtheoretical Model, as well as the instruments currently used to identify the stage of change. Finally, criticisms and limitations of the model are discussed.


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    Unidade de Pesquisas em Alcool e Drogas, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

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    Models, Psychological
    Substance-Related Disorders

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article



    PubMed ID