Comparing the factorial structure, invariance, and predictive validity of transtheoretical model constructs for alcohol use across restricted and unrestricted settings

Kirk von Sternberg, The University of Texas School of Public Health


With substance abuse treatment expanding in prisons and jails, understanding how behavior change interacts with a restricted setting becomes more essential. The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) has been used to understand intentional behavior change in unrestricted settings, however, evidence indicates restrictive settings can affect the measurement and structure of the TTM constructs. The present study examined data from problem drinkers at baseline and end-of-treatment from three studies: (1) Project CARE (n = 187) recruited inmates from a large county jail; (2) Project Check-In (n = 116) recruited inmates from a state prison; (3) Project MATCH, a large multi-site alcohol study had two recruitment arms, aftercare (n = 724 pre-treatment and 650 post-treatment) and outpatient (n = 912 pre-treatment and 844 post-treatment). The analyses were conducted using cross-sectional data to test for non-invariance of measures of the TTM constructs: readiness, confidence, temptation, and processes of change (Structural Equation Modeling, SEM) across restricted and unrestricted settings. Two restricted (jail and aftercare) and one unrestricted group (outpatient) entering treatment and one restricted (prison) and two unrestricted groups (aftercare and outpatient) at end-of-treatment were contrasted. In addition TTM end-of-treatment profiles were tested as predictors of 12 month drinking outcomes (Profile Analysis). Although SEM did not indicate structural differences in the overall TTM construct model across setting types, there were factor structure differences on the confidence and temptation constructs at pre-treatment and in the factor structure of the behavioral processes at the end-of-treatment. For pre-treatment temptation and confidence, differences were found in the social situations factor loadings and in the variance for the confidence and temptation latent factors. For the end-of-treatment behavioral processes, differences across the restricted and unrestricted settings were identified in the counter-conditioning and stimulus control factor loadings. The TTM end-of-treatment profiles were not predictive of drinking outcomes in the prison sample. Both pre and post-treatment differences in structure across setting types involved constructs operationalized with behaviors that are limited for those in restricted settings. These studies suggest the TTM is a viable model for explicating addictive behavior change in restricted settings but calls for modification of subscale items that refer to specific behaviors and caution in interpreting the mean differences across setting types for problem drinkers.

Subject Area

Public health|Psychotherapy|Criminology

Recommended Citation

von Sternberg, Kirk, "Comparing the factorial structure, invariance, and predictive validity of transtheoretical model constructs for alcohol use across restricted and unrestricted settings" (2005). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3178918.