1,000 ordinary Rhode Islanders

5 February 2015

Just over 30 years ago two clinical psychologists working in the field of addiction published an article in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, detailing their study into people changing their smoking habits by progressing through a series of five stages of behaviour change.

Previously almost all research and treatment programs were action orientated. Dr James Prochaska and Dr Carlo DiClemente’s now famous “Pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance” transtheoretical model, continues to be as impactful today in the field of behavioural change as it was back in 1983.

As Dr Prochaska describes it “…we were taught by about 1,000 ordinary Rhode Islanders a very different approach to change. We followed these folks for about two years looking at their successes and failures and these people taught us something about change that was not in any of the 300 systems of psychotherapy, counselling, behaviour change. They taught us that change involves progress through a series of stages”.

Their model shows how small interventions can have a profound and lasting impact on behaviour change and has provided the framework for thousands of successful campaigns around the globe.

Campaigns working to change the behaviour of people towards a desired outcome from increasing breast feeding amongst new mothers; to using safety belts in cars; to recycling household products to including charitable gifts in wills.

At Remember A Charity we have seen will writing behaviour change amongst the UK public over time. In 2000, when the consortium was established, 5.1% of the UK population left a charitable gift in their will. By 2013 that figure had increased to 7.3%.* The percentages might not be huge but bear in mind that 7.3% of the population left over £2 billion of legacy income for charities; and as this behaviour change continues it will result in millions of pounds of fresh income for the range of fabulous charities across the UK.

*Source: Legacy Foresight Snapshot

Emma Bockhop, membership manager at Remember A Charity