Maintenance is the stage in which people have made specific overt modifications in their lifestyles and are working to prevent relapse; however, they do not apply change processes as frequently as do people in Action.
While in the Maintenance stage, people are less tempted to relapse and grow increasingly more confident that they can continue their changes.
Based on self-efficacy data, researchers have estimated that Maintenance lasts from six months to about five years.
While this estimate may seem somewhat pessimistic, longitudinal data in the 1990 Surgeon General’s report support this temporal estimate.
After 12 months of continuous abstinence, 43% of individuals returned to regular smoking.
Thus, action-oriented guidance misserves individuals in the early stages.Guidance based on the TTM results in increased participation in the change process because it appeals to the whole population rather than the minority ready to take action.The stage construct represents a temporal dimension. Surprisingly, none of the leading theories of therapy contained a core construct representing time.Traditionally, behavior change was often construed as an event, such as quitting smoking, drinking, or overeating.
TTM recognizes change as a process that unfolds over time, involving progress through a series of stages.
People in the Precontemplation stage do not intend to take action in the foreseeable future, usually measured as the next six months.