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Understanding Hard to Maintain Behaviour Change: A Dual Process Approach by Ron Borland

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Chapter 6

The structure of the change process

This chapter focusses on the process of change. It explores the different factors and forces involved in setting a goal for change, and for any given attempt, on the decision to change, the initiation of attempts to change, in the maintenance of change and on challenges of recovering from setbacks. It is clear that there are a number of discrete tasks in each of these steps. The acceptance of a problem, the formation of a goal for change, the decision to change and the initiation of change are all primarily driven by ES processes, with OS engagement only really important in generating sufficient emotional engagement to make the change seem worthwhile, and for initiation, to overcome any initial resistance. By contrast, contingent OS reactions are critical for maintenance, with negative experiences linked to the change particularly important in triggering relapse, thus requiring active resistance by ES-led processes, of self-control and/or of strategies to retune OS processes, if relapse is to be prevented.

CEOS theory conceptualises the process of behaviour change as one that may be cycled through a number of times with varying degrees of success before finally achieving stable change; indeed it accepts that some will never get there without more effective strategies to help them. For this reason, CEOS reconceptualises many of the determinants of change to separate out their stable and dynamic aspects and to help differentiate the long-term ...

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